Friday, May 15, 2009

Hurry up the white flag 

The University of North Dakota has announced that, unless the two Sioux tribes of the state agree before October 1 to the use of their tribal name for a period of at least thirty years, the university will end its use of the Fighting Sioux mascot.
Today, Thursday, May 14, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education passed the following unanimous motion:

"Consistent with the terms and conditions of the October 26, 2007 Settlement Agreement entered into with the NCAA, the Board directs UND officials to retire the 'Sioux' nickname and logo, effective October 1, 2009. Full retirement of the nickname and logo shall be completed no later than August 1, 2010. In the event a new nickname and logo is adopted by UND, they shall not violate the NCAA policy regarding Native American nicknames, mascots and imagery.

UND is further directed to undertake actions consistent with the Settlement Agreement to protect its intellectual property rights in the 'Fighting Sioux' nickname and mark. UND is further directed to address the imagery at Ralph Engelstad Arena and other venues pursuant to the terms, conditions and timelines set forth in the Settlement Agreement. ...

UND President Robert Kelley seems resigned to the fate of the nickname. On Say Anything, the timing of this event is questioned, since one band of Sioux had already agreed to the nickname. The other one has a tribal council blocking a referendum on the issue. "The Whistler" at Say Anything wonders:
According to the timeline set up by the Board of Higher Education the committee was supposed to work on this issue for the rest of the year. When the Attorney General negotiated the terrible settlement with the NCAA he said that he and the governor would meet with the tribes to settle this matter. Of course they never did. Specifically John Hoeven isn�t going to address a controversial subject if he can possibly duck it.

This committee headed by Grant Shaft was formed last year and met one time. According to their schedule they were to meet four times.

They only met once. Grant Shaft says that the Summit league membership was on the line. The Summit league said that wasn�t the case. So why did they have to decide now.

The settlement with the NCAA was set up so that the Fighting Sioux name would just go away without the local self-appointed elites being blamed.

But then something happened. A local group on the Spirit Lake Tribe decided they didn�t agree with the elites. They like the name. They brought it to a vote on the reservation and it passed overwhelmingly.

That left getting a vote of the members of the other Sioux Tribe in the state.

That�s why there was a hurry. The Board of Higher Education was afraid that members of the Standing Rock Tribe would force a vote and approve of the nickname. And then where would those self-appointed elites be?
On the SCSU campus a promotional weekly of "SCSU in the News" announced this as a victory ... for SCSU:
For 16 years a number of St. Cloud State students, faculty, staff and administrators pushed the University of North Dakota to cease using its �Sioux� nickname and logo, arguing they are racially hostile and abusive. The end game in that long battle may be near. On May 14, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education ordered UND to retire the 'Sioux' nickname and logo, effective Oct. 1, 2009. ...

St. Cloud State involvement in the controversy includes a campus ban on using the logo and nickname in university-produced publications, an NCAA resolution, protests at athletic contests involving UND teams and classroom curricula. Among our leaders on this issue were former presidents Robert O. Bess and Roy Saigo, Athletics Director Morris Kurtz and Sudie Hofmann, professor of human relations and multicultural education.
Let's summarize, then: A group of elitists at the NCAA, at one time headed by President Saigo, lobbies to force a competing athletic program to abandon a long-used mascot. The mascot uses the name of a Native American tribe, one band of which approves of the mascot, the other of which is blocked from voting in a referendum on the mascot. The elitists then take the blocked vote as a sign that they have done the right thing and compel a university to end its long tradition. President of that university is left to make apologies and ask for kindness from those whose wishes were trumped by the elites. (I have no idea of Pres. Kelley agrees with the Board's decision; at any rate he's made the best of a raw deal.)

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