I was raised, for the most part, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, home of the University of North Dakota, which is home of the UND Fighting Sioux. There has been on on-going controversy about the name/mascot of the Sioux because it is the name of several living Indian bands. The NCAA has rules which prohibit the use of Indian names, nicknames and mascots.
It’s been an extra controversy in Grand Forks because a rich dick by the name of Ralph Engelstad donated a bunch of money to UND for a new hockey arena (a sport which UND excels at nationally) and then threatened to withdraw it when they considered changing the name.
But the name has got to change. It saddens me, as a long time Sioux hockey fan, to lose the tradition I grew up with. But my respect for the living nations that were once part of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) is greater. You can’t honor people against their will. And while many North Dakotans are respectful of their Indian neighbors, many are not and many hockey fans are not and the cartoons and caricatures of Native Americans as entertainment for white people is wholly inappropriate.
It’s not the name that makes the UND Fighting Sioux the UND Fighting Sioux. We’ll love our hockey team regardless of the name. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
(Thanks to massdistraction for taking a nice pic of my Sioux t-shirt!)