Tribal leader says UND wasting time asking for OK
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Tribal leaders who met here Tuesday wondered how many times they need to say no to the Fighting Sioux nickname. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder said attempting to get approval for the nickname is a waste...
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Tribal leaders who met here Tuesday wondered how many times they need to say no to the Fighting Sioux nickname.
Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder said attempting to get approval for the nickname is a waste of time and urged the University of North Dakota to move forward.
A settlement with the NCAA gives UND three years to gain approval from the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake tribes to continue using the nickname.
Leaders of Standing Rock gathered at UND's American Indian Center to voice their position in an event coordinated by the Campus Committee for Human Rights.
The Standing Rock Tribal Council passed its fourth resolution against the nickname this month, said Jesse Taken Alive, a council member and former chairman.
University of North Dakota Indian Association President B.J. Rainbow plays a thank you song at a press advisory meeting Tuesday in the American Indian Center at UND. Jay Pickthorn / The Forum
Photo Gallery: Tribe members
"How else can we say no?" Taken Alive said. "It's very disrespectful."
David Gipp, president of United Tribes Technical College, said today is the time for UND to begin making the transition to a new logo.
"We will bring North Dakota into the 21st century kicking and screaming, but we will do it," Gipp said.
He encouraged opponents of the nickname to write letters to the state Board of Higher Education and other decision-makers.
His Horse Is Thunder said by holding on to the logo, a "vestige of the past" that perpetuates stereotypes, UND is holding down Sioux people.
"This is one aspect of who we were," His Horse Is Thunder said. "We weren't simply warriors, we were much more."
Even if UND treats the logo with honor, the university can't control what opponents will do, representatives said.
"What it's all about is human dignity," said Avis Little Eagle, a Standing Rock Council representative.
American Indian students who attend UND are forced to choose sides on the logo issue and it detracts from their ability to be students, Little Eagle said.
His Horse Is Thunder suggested the North Dakota Roughriders as a logo everyone could be proud of.
Bob Boyd, UND vice president for student and outreach services, listened to the tribal leaders and said their comments will be helpful.
"Much of this will lie with the state Board of Higher Education," Boyd said.
In a phone interview after the meeting, board President John Q. Paulsen said the board has not had the opportunity to discuss retiring the logo sooner than three years, but he would bring up the tribal representatives' viewpoint at a future meeting.
Also Tuesday, UND President Charles Kupchella invited the tribal leaders to his office and planned to take them on a tour.
Eric Longie, a member of the Spirit Lake tribe, attended the event to hear what Standing Rock leaders had to say.
"This is historical," Longie said. "It's a turning point in the fight to get rid of the racist logo."