The North Dakota Fighting Sioux will be no more. While most college hockey fans were immersed in the Frozen Four, the North Dakota Higher Education Board decided to retire the nickname and logo of the University of North Dakota. To say this has been a hot-button topic in North Dakota is a vast understatement. Going back to 2005, former president of the NCAA, the late Myles Brand, made it a point to go after any NCAA member teams who had Native American nicknames or symbols by banning the use of said mascots from the postseason tournaments, the table has been set for the eventual elimination of any kind of ethnically named teams.
Some schools beat the NCAA to the punch by changing team names within the last 20 years. A sampling of some of the name changes more recently are (old name/new name): Eastern Michigan (Hurons/Eagles), Siena College (Indians/Saints), St. John’s (Redmen/Red Storm), Miami University (Redskins/Redhawks), Louisiana-Monroe (Indians/Warhawks), Syracuse University (Orangemen/Orange), Hofstra (Flying Dutchmen/Pride), Quinnipiac (Braves/Bobcats), and William & Mary (Indians/Tribe). William & Mary has even gone as far to change their mascot to a griffin because apparently the letters with a feather symbol they once used was deemed offensive.
Not all of these schools were named after people. St. John’s and
Syracuse are two examples of that, but they were often wrongly portrayed
as such and that’s a no-no. Exhausting, isn’t it? And here you thought the movie “PCU” was a work of fiction and not a documentary filmed in real time.
Once the nickname and logo are gone, there’s going to be issues with the university’s home hockey rink, the Ralph Englestad Arena as the building is ensconced in the Sioux logo. The Ralph’s general manager Jody Hodgson says that big changes shouldn’t be expected, especially if he’s got anything to say about it.
“But, if I have anything to do with it, nothing in the building will ever change. Nobody will ever be allowed to change anything. It would be the utmost sign of disrespect if anybody ever tries to deface that building. If I have anything to say on the matter, that will never happen. Never.”
Now wouldn’t that be the ultimate slap in the face on this entire insane dealing. The NCAA goes out of their way to ensure that North Dakota loses their nickname and logo and then makes the university destroy their own arena to erase any and all of the marks of once being known as the Fighting Sioux. The irony there is almost sickening, especially since the teams at UND weren’t named the Fighting Sioux for laughs and mockery. What does the guy who designed the iconic Sioux logo think of it?
Also disappointed was Bennett Brien, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa artist who designed the logo displayed on UND uniforms and throughout the Engelstad arena.
“Well, political correctness has reared its ugly head,” he said about the board decision. “I knew it was going to happen. Now they will put some stupid-ass animal on the logo.”
For what it’s worth, North Dakota has another nickname they used in the past. They were at one time called the Flickertails… A small ground squirrel.