University of North Dakota loses 'Fighting Sioux' to political correctness

by Nov 21, 2010 2:53 pm Tags:

Michiko Fuller, staff writer

Chalk up another point to the politically correct.

As of Nov. 16, the Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota are no-names in the world of college sports mascots.

The National College Athletic Association removed the name after one tribe of Sioux Native Americans refused to approve the 80-year-old name, according to News Oklahoma.

Ironically, another Sioux nation actually gave consent for the college to continue using the name, but since the two groups were unable to reach a consensus, the name was removed anyway.

The Florida Seminoles and the Utah Utes have been allowed to keep their traditional names after similar controversies in which Native American councils approved the names for the respective schools.

I struggle to find what exactly is offensive about the name.

It's not a slur, a la the National Football League's Washington Redskins.

The logo itself was designed by a descendant of the Sioux people and not a stereotype in cartoon form.

It's also a completely correct way to refer to a Native American tribe.

I've dealt with the school mascot sensitivity issue when I was growing up in Illinois.

I went to Woodland Primary, Elementary, Intermediate and Middle schools.

They were all in different buildings with the same mascot — we were the Indians.

I was in fifth grade when the news was passed down to the students that our mascot was offensive and our new name would be the Wildcats.

It's honestly hard to remember if I was more upset about losing the Indian moniker or gaining the completely generic nature of the new mascot.

Later, my history classes revealed that the term "Indian" was a misnomer coined by Christopher Columbus, who was completely in denial about what continent he landed on.

After that revelation, I learned to love attending one of the many schools in the area that called itself the Wildcats.

I'm all for keeping up with politically acceptable terms, but this decision pushes the boundary of washing out history.

This long-standing mascot is beloved by its students and alumni, including notable graduate Ralph Engelstad.

He funded the hockey arena and supposedly put many Sioux logos into it to discourage the changing of the Sioux name.

The expense involved in changing the mascot seems trivial in comparison to other pressures put on tight school budgets.

The idea is to improve the experience of students offended by the name — so why isn't there a petition to change the Fighting Irish?

If it is truly racist to embody the warrior spirit of the diverse ethnic groups present in this country, then by that logic we should be changing our own school's mascot in respect to students descended from Sparta.

According to the Minnesota Post, the name and logo will be deleted by August as per the National College Athletic Association requirements.

There's no word yet on what the University of North Dakota will be known as in the future, but I have a feeling they'll change to a cuddly animal or take on the persona of a more acceptable group of people — like cowboys — instead of Native Americans.

2 thoughts on “University of North Dakota loses 'Fighting Sioux' to political correctness

  1. Surprised that this happened to a school that actually had very little issue beforehand.

    Also, it seems that each paragraph is one sentence long. I don't think I've ever seen a piece written in that fashion before. Some of these sentences could be combined to make a longer paragraph.

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