NCAA Press Release on Fighting Sioux Settlement

From the NCAA website (H/T Indianz):

NCAA Statement on Settlement of University of North Dakota Mascot Lawsuit


Monday, November 19, 2007


Bob Williams

Managing Director of Public and Media Relations



INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA recognizes the University of North Dakota’s many programs and outreach services to the Native American community and surrounding areas.  The University of North Dakota is a national leader in offering educational programs to Native Americans.

The University has indicated that it intends to use the current name and logo with the utmost respect and dignity, and only for so long as it may do so with the support of the Native American community.  The NCAA does not dispute UND’s sincerity in this regard.

The NCAA believes, as a general proposition, that the use of Native American names and imagery can create a hostile or abusive environment in collegiate athletics.  However, the NCAA did not make any other findings about the environment on UND’s campus.  The NCAA also acknowledges that reasonable people can disagree about the propriety of Native American imagery in athletics.  The NCAA believes that the time has come to retire Native American imagery in college sports.

One thought on “NCAA Press Release on Fighting Sioux Settlement

  1. Debra McGregor September 28, 2008 / 10:58 am

    I’ve thought of a way for UND to keep the name sort of. In the summer of 1990, in the hills of South Dakota, Sue Hendrickson and her team discovered the largest and most intact skeleton of a T-Rex ever found. Of course, it was named after her and is now assembled for viewing at the Field Museum in Chicago. I would urge UND to change it’s mascot to the T-Rex and it’s name to the Fighting Sue. You’re not going to offend a dinosaur skeleton.

    It is distressing that the people of UND, and I’ve been there and met you and you are a people, cannot see that no matter what you do, your use of the tribal name and imagery of the Sioux nation is simply morally objectionable. You can slice it any way you want, and it still comes out bad. I want you to think about his a bit. I want you to picture, in 30 years, the University of Baghdad inviting the UND hockey team to come and play a rousing game in their new arena. Yeah, I know, hard to picture hockey in Persia, but bear with me. The team gets off the bus and enters the stadium which is called the Jalal Talabani Arena named after Iraq’s president after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The UND boys enter through the dock and start walking down the corridor to the visiting locker room. The first thing they notice, and how could they not, is the red, white, and blue color scheme. These are not Iraqi colors, these are American colors. And why not, the Team is called the Fighting Americans. The mascot logo, which is emblazoned all over the arena to the tune of more than 250,000 times, is a “dignified” side portrait of an American Soldier with his helmet painted with the side view of the American flag. This logo is done in beautiful mosaic on the floor of the grand atrium. It is on the tiles all over the walls of the restrooms. It is, of course, at Center Ice. At first, the team is not that conscious of it, but as the walk further, they start to notice, that the USA flag is on the ground–which it’s never to be. And that one clueless kid has just walked on it, and one astute kid remarks that they’ll be skating on it all night. A little kid, the son of the opposing team’s equipment manager, approaches shyly. “Can I have your autograph,” he says in perfect English. “Of course,” the team captain stops to sign the program book. “Great, thank you! I’ve always wanted to see a real, blood-thirsty American Christian warrior,” he says. “My dad says that we picked our mascot not out of respect for you coming to liberate out people, but because your soldiers were the most feared ever in the history of our country. Your people were brutal and killed many hundreds of thousands of ours. When we did research on picking mascots, we saw how you had named your team after the Sioux, for they had qualities that you hoped your team would exemplify. So, we thought, Fighting Americans would be perfect for us.”

    When you think through this analogous fable, you’ve got to realize the folly it is to try to perpetuate the myth that keeping the Fighting Sioux can be done respectfully. Quite simply, it cannot.

    So, my advice is either to accept my opening suggestion or find something else.

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