A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE "FIGHTING SIOUX" NAME

 

1930 UND adopts "Fighting Sioux" without input from Alumni or Native American people.
1969 UND Indian Association (UNDIA) is formed.
1970 UNDIA protests lack of social/educational meeting space, inadequate Indian Studies program, and use of the "Fighting Sioux" symbol.
1971 UNDIA Cultural Center is dedicated. Indian Studies program adds two classes.
1972 Several UND fraternities/sororities create offensive snow sculptures. UNDIA members ask to have them removed. No action is taken. UNDIA members demolish sculptures. A Native student is arrested. UND President posts bond. Charges are later dropped. Members of the UND student community quoted in Dakota Student, "better dead than red" and "the only good Indian is a dead Indian."
1973 UNDIA raises issue of local schools using Indigenous people as mascots. Sign posted in local business reads, "Redskins, go back to the reservations, leave their name alone."
1990 Members of UNDIA continue to protest use of Native people as mascots and nicknames.
1992
  • Local schools discontinue use of offensive monikers.
  • Members of UND Greek community harass Native children during the homecoming parade.
  • Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) is formed.
  • Educational forums are held.
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe calls for the end of name use
1993
  • UND Faculty Senate passes resolution to discontinue use of "Fighting Sioux."
  • UND President retires the use of the Black Hawk symbol.
  • Dakota, Nakota, Lakota Summit V calls for end of name use
  • American Jewish Committee calls for end of name use
  • Anti-Semitism Subcommittee of the National Affairs Commission calls for end of name use
  • National Affairs Steering Committee calls for end of name use
1994
  • NDSU accused of demonstrating derogatory behavior toward Native symbols at basketball game. NDSU President apologizes.
  • National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media calls for end of name use
  • National Association of Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American Journalists (UNITY) calls for end of name use
1995 UND American Indian students protest use of "Fighting Sioux."
1996
1997
  • More educational forums held.
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe calls for end of name use
  • National Affairs Commission calls for end of name use
  • Civil Rights Committee calls for end of name use
1998
1999
  • UND Student Senate passes resolution to discontinue use of "Fighting Sioux." Student body president vetos resolution.
  • Similar resolution brought before N.D. House of Representatives, receives a "do not pass" vote.
  • UND ROTC Battalion drops use of "Fighting Sioux."
  • UND Multicultural Awareness Committee (MAC) calls for end of name use
  • Three Affiliated Tribes calls for end of name use
  • Seven tribes call for end of name use: Spirit Lake Nation, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sisseton/Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • UND President Kupchella introduces a new logo, created by a Chippewa artist
  • Student Political Action Network (SPAN) calls for end of name use
  • Under pressure, Kupchella decides to suspend use of new logo for sports teams indefinitely
  • UND professors request that the University Council be convened in order to develop a process to retire the name
2000
  • President Kupchella forms Names Commission to study the name and to suggest possible future courses of action
  • UND faculty group Campus Committee on Human Rights criticizes Kupchella's member selections for the Names Commission
  • During a "Rally For Change" protest, three UND students are arrested for blocking University Avenue to protest the name's continued use
  • The N.D. State Board of Higher Education preempts President Kupchella and unilaterally declares that UND will keep the "Fighting Sioux" nickname
2001
  • A letter from late 2000 surfaces in which Ralph Engelstad threatened to pull his $100 million "donation" should the nickname be changed, most likely prompting the State Board's rash mandate in December 2000
  • A new Engelstad Arena nears completion
  • The new logo is placed on UND basketball courts

[Taken from "Fighting the 'Fighting Sioux'", created and distributed by B.R.I.D.G.E.S., c.1999, Native Directions Volume 6, Issue 2, from Native Media Center, the School of Communications, UND, Copyright Spring 1999, and other sources]

2001 Contact: Al White