Legislature lets Sioux name issue stay local

State legislature votes 71 - 26 against endorsing Sioux name change; supports keeping issue on local level

By Josh Roiland
Dakota Student Staff Writer

Last Tuesday the North Dakota House of Representatives put an end to the question on whether or not they would play a role in the fate of the Fighting Sioux nickname. With a vote of 71-26, the House defeated Resolution 3024 and thereby put an end to the debate for this session.

Jim Poolman, R-Grand Forks, a former UND Student Body President who represents UND's district voted against the resolution. Poolman said that he doesn't want to see the nickname changed, but moreover he feels that the issue is something that the school needs to take care of, not the State Legislature.

"They're doing a great job dealing with it at UND," Poolman said, "And we should let them continue doing it."

Poolman felt that one of the main reasons the resolution, which also failed in the Government and Veteran Affairs Committee by a vote of 12-2, failed because of the local control issue. He said this is why UND's district's other representative Amy Kliniske voted against it.

Only one person gave testimony during the discussion on the House floor and that was Rep. Rod Froelich, D-Selfridge who was the author of the bill. According to Poolman, Froelich have a good emotional argument by asking other House members to write their ethnic background down on paper and subsequently write the word 'sucks' below it. Froelich then asked his colleagues if they were still proud of their heritage with that label attached.

Although Poolman thought Froelich presented a good case, he didn't feel it was pragmatic.

"We have to look at practical arguments," he said. "The Sioux name presents a great opportunity for education.

"We can't apologize for the people who do these types of (negative) things with the name."

The nickname debate is now finished at the State Capitol as far as legislators are concerned. Poolman said that there is no chance that another resolution would be drafted this session, especially since the last one was defeated in such a lopsided fashion.