News Profile of Sebastian Braun’s Study of Impacts of Fracking at Fort Berthold

Here is “Chronicling the oil boom: UND professors map dramatic changes to western ND landscape.”

Links to several maps are available here.


American Indian Justice Conference Call for Papers

The conference is June 4-6, 2012. Deadline for submissions is April 26, 2012. The submission form is here.  Conference information can be found here.

The American Indian Justice Conference is an annual event that is supported by funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the Tribal Court Assistance Program and the Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program.

The 1st Annual American Indian Justice Conference was held in Fort McDowell, AZ and was the culmination of a collaborative planning effort between the Tribal Judicial Institute and Fox Valley Technical College. Due to an overwhelmingly positive response to the past four American Indian Justice Conferences, this year’s partners, the University of North Dakota, Fox Valley Technical College and The National Judicial College, along with the host Tribe are pleased to announce the 5th Annual American Indian Justice Conference. The partners, along with this year’s host Tribe, will hold the event at the Grand Traverse Resort, Acme, MI (10 minutes from the Cherry Capital Airport).

NYTs on State of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” Controversy

An excerpt from the NYTs (permalink here):

The new law, signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, has left the university in a difficult position: defy the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has mandated that all American Indian mascots be dropped, or break the law. The legislative debate has reopened wounds over retiring a beloved mascot that has graced hockey jerseys and pennants across the state for years.

University officials hope that a meeting later this month in Indianapolis between Mr. Dalrymple, legislative leaders and N.C.A.A. officials will help resolve the conflict. As it stands, if the university continues to use the name after Aug. 15, its athletics program would face penalties that could jeopardize much-lauded plans to join the Big Sky Conference.

For many North Dakotans, the future of the logo — a profile of an Indian with feathers in his hair — is personal. Grant Shaft, the president of the state’s Board of Higher Education, went to law school there and said five generations of his family attended the university. But Mr. Shaft says it is time for the university to move past the matter and comply with N.C.A.A. guidelines.

“My roots with the Fighting Sioux nickname go as deep as anybody,” he said. “The reality of the situation is that the Aug. 15 date is looming, and we’re starting to realize the consequences are really untenable for the athletics department.”

Lonny Winrich on the UND Name Change

From the Grand Forks Herald:

GRAND FORKS — If there’s one thing that’s clear in all the fog surrounding the Fighting Sioux name controversy, it’s that the Board of Higher Education has the authority to decide what will be done.

That’s what the North Dakota State Constitution says, as interpreted by the North Dakota Supreme Court. The court’s ruling also serves as a reminder that a modern democratic government is constrained by a constitution that delimits its powers.

Democracy is not to be found in a spontaneous plebiscite whenever there is an unpopular decision. Democracy means governing by the requirements of a constitution.

This brings up another point: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe also is governed by a constitution. That constitution has no provision for — and gives no official standing to — the proposed referendum.

If the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is allowed to vote, any interpretation of the results will owe more to a hyperactive media than to any lawful authority. The duly elected tribal council speaks for the tribe, and I think the board has been wise to base its decisions on the actions of the tribal council.

The board has dealt with a very difficult and contentious issue. I doubt there is anyone, including board members, who is happy with all the twists and turns this problem has taken.

But the board has made its decision — which only it can do — based on a thoughtful consideration of all aspects of the issue. As North Dakotans, we cannot expect more from our public officials.

I, for one, want to express my thanks to the board members for their service in this tough situation.

Lonny Winrich

Winrich, a Democrat, represents District 18 in the North Dakota House.

State Judge Dismisses Suit against N.D. Board of Education re: Fighting Sioux

From the Grand Forks Herald:

A district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education that sought to prevent the body from retiring the University of North Dakota’s controversial nickname.

Judge Michael G. Sturdevant said in his decision that he would’ve preferred otherwise, but he can see no legal reason that the state board could not change the nickname. Nevertheless, he rapped the board for its failure to fight hard to keep the Fighting Sioux nickname.

The higher education board had earlier set an Oct. 31 deadline for both Sioux tribes in the state to approve the nickname and, at its last meeting in November, did not extend the deadline. Because of the litigation, though, the board never formally instructed UND to retire the nickname.

Nickname supporters in the Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation, which approved the nickname by a 67 percent vote, sued shortly before the November meeting seeking to buy time for members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to rally for a similar vote.

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UND Getting Closer to Recognizing Inevitable Name/Logo Change

But oh so slowly….

From TV:

Bismarck, N.D. (AP) The chairman ofNorth Dakota‘s Board of Highereducation says it appears more likely that the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo will be changed.

Richie Smith is responding today to a letter from Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Charles Murphy.

The board wants the nickname issue resolved by the end of this month. Murphy’s letter says the nickname and logo issue isn’t a big priority for his administration.

Murphy also questions the board’s demand for a 30-year agreement to allow U-N-D to use the nickname and logo. He says the tribe is willing to discuss the issue “without deadlines and without stipulations.” Smith says board members want to get the issue resolved. Board member Grant Shaft says he doesn’t think there’s much willingness to extend a decision deadline beyond Dec. 31.

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Grand Forks Herald: Drop the “Fighting Sioux” Nickname

From the Herald:

A new deadline probably dooms the UND Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. That’s just as well. It’s been clear for some time that the name and logo couldn’t survive.

The reason is simple enough.

No matter the appeal of the name, the pride in it and the support for it, its use had become corrosive, damaging to the university and the state.

That’s why the Herald has urged dropping the name, sooner than later.

Opponents would never abandon the fight against it, even in the face of demonstrated support among the state’s Sioux people. That became clear in the wake of a vote last month at Spirit Lake.

The board left a small window for supporters of the name and logo. They set an Oct. 1 deadline.

At the same time, they raised the bar. The name can be retained only if the tribes agree to allow its use for at least 30 years.

Meeting these conditions will be so difficult, for so many reasons, that the name and logo appear effectively dead.

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NYTs: Univ. of North Dakota to Change Nickname

From the NYTs:

North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education has approved a schedule for discarding the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo if two Sioux tribes hold firm in their desire to have them dumped. The timeline directs William Goetz, the university system’s chancellor, to form a committee to discuss the issue with the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes. The panel should meet at least twice with Sioux leaders in 2009. If there is no agreement, the timeline says, the university should begin planning in January 2010 to retire the nickname and logo.