GRAND FORKS, N.D.
The University of North Dakota still may not use its Fighting Sioux nickname and American Indian head logo during NCAA post-season tournaments, although it will still be allowed to host a regional hockey competition, an NCAA committee says.
The tournament is scheduled for the Ralph Engelstad Arena, which is festooned with thousands of logos the NCAA has said it considers “hostile and abusive” to American Indians.
The decision by the association’s staff review committee, which was announced this week, may still be appealed to the NCAA’s executive committee.
David Gipp, president of the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, called the decision “the right thing, the correct thing, the ethical and the moral thing to do.”
The university should now take the step of getting rid of the nickname and logo entirely, Gipp said in a telephone interview.
“It allows the University of North Dakota to begin to make the transition that is necessary,” Gipp said. “This is something that begins to set the road straight … This begins to right the wrongs of history.”
The Standing Rock Sioux and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux both clearly opposed “the university’s use of the ‘Fighting Sioux’ nickname and imagery,” Bernard Franklin, an NCAA senior vice president, said in a statement.
Franklin said UND will still be allowed to host the NCAA Division I west regional men’s hockey championship March 24-25 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, despite the thousands of American Indian head logos that are part of its decor.
“It is not reasonable to cover up or remove all of the Native American imagery in the arena,” Franklin said, adding that the contract to host the tournament did not include a provision to cover the logos.
His statement said the tribes’ position “must be respected, even when others may not agree.”
“Although the University of North Dakota maintained that its logo and nickname are used with consummate respect, the position of the namesake tribes and those affected by the hostile or abusive environment that the nickname and logo create take precedence,” he said.
— Associated Press
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