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The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

Not a Simple Logo Change for University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux

Since 1930, The University of North Dakota has been using the “Fighting Sioux” as their logo.  However, in mid 2009, North Dakota was the nation’s last college to challenge an NCAA decree against American Indian mascots and images. 

Although an NCAA lawsuit forced the school to reconsider, and the state Board of Higher Education said it would retire the nickname if the school didn’t obtain permission from the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes.  Spirit Lake endorsed the nickname; Standing Rock did not.  An extension to was given to UND to halt sales and production of retail items as well as removing all images off school property no later than August 15, 2011.  The agreement with the NCAA states the school may retain historical items related to the nickname and items ingrained in the architecture.  While local community and college representatives continue to figure out what fits that definition, it is certain that a number of scholarships, clubs and events will need new identities.  While some of the logos may be  covered up with a few coats of paint, others are etched in glass and even built in the floors. 

Ralph Engelstad Arena Manager Jody Hodgson, was asked how easy it would be to have the logos easily removed, she stated, “None.”  The arena has thousands of Indian-head logos, including a 10-foot sketch of an Indian head embedded in the granite floor and brass medallions on the outside chairs of most rows.

While the changes may be cosmetic to the exterior and interior of the building; the removal will forever change the staff, alumni and future UND students.  I believe the school should be entitled to the 80 plus years of using the Fighting Sioux and wear their jerseys with great pride.

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