Keep A Cherished Icon; Change A Chiding Symbol?

August 15, 2011 at 5:14 PM (curious research, current news, social opinion)

I realize that it is somewhat of a thin, gray line.  Yet, I do feel that, when it comes down to the facts of the matter, the ultimate effects and depths of purpose need to be taken into account.  It should be considered, then understood, as to whether or not the actual legitimacy of the image outweighs the public clamor.

The University of North Dakota has been under recent political and public assault.  The school is enduring public hammering because of it’s continued use of a controversial mascot.  The school’s students, competitors, and all of whom have been involved currently hold onto their likely cherished mascot of The Fighting Sioux.  UND has held this mascot for it’s athletics programs since some time after 1930.  It adopted the moniker “Sioux” during that year, and “Fighting” was included some time later.

The school is now facing a deadline to change it’s mascot.  The National Collegiate Athletic Association has ordered the campus to recognize it’s current policy for campuses with mascots that may be viewed as “hostile or offensive to Native Americans”.  UND is supposed to retire the nickname Fighting Sioux by today.

Controversy surrounding the seemingly done-deal of changing the school mascot has come from The State of North Dakota.  State legislators had been dealing with the issue since 2007.  This is when The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education made a final decision to withdraw the use of the mascot by August 15, 2011 to comply with NCAA administrative legislation to alter school mascots that currently are of Native American depiction.

The University of North Dakota will face strengthened sanctions if it does not change it’s mascot.  School officials met with NCAA directors last Friday, agreeing to stop the use of the name Fighting Sioux, and all school logos associated with this mascot.  However, North Dakota legislators signed a bill into law that ordered the school not to comply with NCAA rules, lead by Governor Jack Dalrymple.

The greater level of importance seems to come from The University of North Dakota’s ascension into The Big Sky Conference.  As a member of this greater athletic community, UND will receive greater academic, financial, and political attention.  UND will elevate to Division I from it’s current Division II status.

UND is facing aggression over it’s mascot because of growing, nationwide controversy over school nicknames that are being viewed as racially and/or socially offensive.  It is being nudged to alter it’s label of a Native American image, in accordance with other schools.  Campuses that include Stanford University and St. John’s University held prior mascot names that were politically offensive, and they have since changed them.

The University of North Dakota has made prior efforts to change it’s school mascot.  It was during 2000 when it tried to adopt a new nickname, yet it was stopped by a financially-powerful alumnus who intimidated the school by saying he would not give a $100 million donation if the mascot was changed.  UND still has not adhered to the 2005 NCAA order for affiliated campuses to change ethnically offensive mascots, whereas several other schools already have chosen new mascots to remove prior ones that were viewed as offensive.

North Dakota Fighting Sioux Logo.svg


Animated Flag of The Great State of North Dakota

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