Fighting Sioux bill gets do-pass recommendation

BISMARCK – The North Dakota House will decide next week whether the University of North Dakota nickname debate should continue.

The House Education Committee gave a do-pass recommendation on Wednesday to a bill supporting the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

House Bill 1263 states UND athletic teams shall be known as the Fighting Sioux. Neither UND nor the state Board of Higher Education may take action to discontinue the use of the nickname or logo.

It requires the attorney general to consider filing a federal anti-trust claim against the NCAA if the association takes any action to penalize UND for using the nickname and logo.

The bill is sponsored by House Majority Leader Al Carlson of Fargo and received a 10-5 favorable vote. The other two nickname bills received do-not pass recommendations.

All of the nickname bills still need to go to the House floor for final votes. Carlson said this could happen as early as Monday, but Tuesday is more likely.

If one or more are approved, the state Senate will then take up the issue.

Wednesday’s recommendations come three weeks after the committee listened to several hours’ worth of testimony from nickname supporters and opponents.

During the committee discussion, Rep. Phil Mueller, D-Valley City, said he’s never had a problem with the Fighting Sioux nickname, but he would not support the bill.

He said the state Board of Higher Education and UND concluded it’s time to move on.

“I guess I’m of common mind with them about that. This isn’t going to go away,” Mueller said. “I don’t think that the Standing Rock people are going to decide this is all fine and the NCAA is going to be happy.”

The NCAA has deemed the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo “hostile and abuse.” Opponents say the nickname and logo have contributed to an atmosphere where racist and abusive incidents occurred.

Rep. David Rust, R-Tioga, reviewed numbers of Native American students at the state’s colleges. He said UND has higher numbers than other campuses, and he didn’t think this would be so if the campus was unfriendly and unsafe.

Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, R-Mandan, said it bothered her that the state Board of Higher Education took a neutral stance on the nickname bills.

If the board is confident in its decision to move on and believes it was fully transparent and explored every angle, representatives should have testified in opposition, she said.

“If you truly believe what you did was right and you truly believe that the decision was the way it should have been, then man up and come in and testify against it. But that didn’t happen,” she said.

Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, said he has no problem with turning over every stone to exhaust all of the options. However, he said no other school in the state has its nickname and logo in state law.

“More importantly, there’s no other nickname or logo that has the repercussions that this bill has on its student athletes,” he said.

UND has decided to move on, and the bill takes away local control, he said. Mock said he couldn’t support the bill due to the impact it would have on students.

Rep. Mike Schatz, R-New England, said the state of North Dakota takes priority over an association.

“What we decide as the state of North Dakota about this issue is what it’s going to be,” he said. “I’m very much in favor of this bill.”

Mock tried to amend one of the other Fighting Sioux bills that discussed permission from the tribes, but he did not get the votes to do so.

Here is the vote breakdown on the bill that passed:

YAY: Kelsch; Rep. Lisa Meier, R-Bismarck; Rep. Joe Heilman, R-Fargo; Rep. Brenda Heller, R-Beulah; Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Devils Lake; Rep. Karen Karls, R-Bismarck; Rep. Karen Rohr, R-Mandan; Rust; Schatz; Rep. Lyle Hanson, D-Jamestown.

NAY: Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Grand Forks; Rep. John Wall, R-Wahpeton; Rep. Bob Hunskor, D-Newburg; Mock; Mueller.

7 thoughts on “Fighting Sioux bill gets do-pass recommendation

  1. what a joke, UND’s own benefactor Ralph Engelstad called the native americans “PRAIRIE NI___” that was published in the fargo forum a few years back. And the state legislature’s want to back these people and their racist, arrogant ways? how arrogant are you to think you can sue the NCAA (3 years after the decisions were made) how arrogant are you to think you can bully the standing rock people into changing their minds. end this, you legislatures need something to do, its obvious with all the stupid bills that you have ZERO LIVES!

  2. Actually there were only the few votes from Standing Rock’s tribal council that counted. It is not discriminatory. How about the Oklahoma Sooners? Should the Caucasian race be in an uproar because a school is mocking their heritage?

  3. oh sure says; “what a joke, UND’s own benefactor Ralph Engelstad called the native americans “PRAIRIE NI___” that was published in the fargo forum a few years back. And the state legislature’s want to back these people and their racist, arrogant ways?”

    This issue has nothing to do with Ralph Engelstad…….. The Sioux name was adopted after the rivalry between the NDSU Bison and UND. There after, UND choose the Sioux nickname for the pride, honor, hertitage and courage of the Sioux nation. Not to forget the Sioux Indians hunted Bison!

    So before you bashing UND and calling people arrogant and racist, do some research! I don’t support the bill, but I do support the nickname!

  4. I sympathize with Fighting Sioux fans, but it’s time to end the use of all ethnic sports nicknames. And the NCAA should not wilt from this issue. Stop giving passes to certain colleges and not to others. This includes the venerable “Fighting Irish.” Being of Irish ethnicity, I can’t say that I like the reference to all Irish people being scrappers. I’ve never been in a fist fight in my life!

  5. Und people are desperate nuts, get a life seriously. And why the HELL is al carlson a Fargo rep in on this? Fargo people didn’t elect you for this crap.

  6. I agree with Fred in a manner of speaking. Though I don’t agree with the NCAA delegating themselves as the politically correct police, if they are going to ban one potentially offensive logo, they should all go. Either the mascots are offensive or they are not. To me it is not an issue that should have been left up to negotiation. The fact is that the NCAA left it up to the schools to work out with the tribes. And because there are tribal members that believe that there voice has not been heard, I support the attempt to keep the mascot until such time as the members of both tribes have had a vote in the manner. And as Native American mascots go, the Fighting Sioux mascot is one of the least offensive I have seen. It is far from Chief Wahoo or many of the other professional team mascots that portray Native Americans in a stereotypical way. Personally, it’s up to the people of North Dakota to decide because they have to live with the decision.

  7. hi
    eugenics eugenics was used by railroad banks to make armies from this land ,,today it is still the main bases for courthouse leaders

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