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Fate of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname rests in hands of state voters

Jun 12, 2012, 12:44 PM EDT


They may be Great West Conference champions, but the North Dakota Fighting Sioux are in for another battle.

Their nickname, the Fighting Sioux, is under review in the state’s primary Tuesday and, depending on the outcome, we could see another instance of a team forced to change its name after being deemed “hostile and abusive” by the NCAA.

We’ve seen teams change names in the past, notably the St. John’s Redmen becoming the Red Storm, and Marquette changing from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles.

The North Dakota state legislature repealed a law that required the school to continue using the nickname, meaning that a “yes” vote would likely call for a name change, though supporters of the moniker have vowed to resume the battle this fall.

North Dakota alumni vice president has voiced his concern over what keeping the nickname could mean for the future of the school’s athletic program.

“I think that over the course of time our case has gotten stronger and stronger,” O’Keefe told the Associated Press. “Listening to the coaches last week tell the story about the reality of how they are being impacted by scheduling and recruiting … the facts are the facts.”

The Fighting Sioux won the Great West title this past season, defeating NJIT, 75-60, in the title game.

The Great West does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, though the Fighting Sioux went on to compete in the CIT. They lost to Drake in the first round, finishing the season with an overall record of 17-15.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. blackhawk1938 - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Such pride in that name. My class ring has the name and the logo. Classmates have the logo tattoos. During the national anthem we sing, “land of the free and home of the SIOUX!” It sends a shiver of pride down our spines.

    But I guess we were just being abusive and racist.

  2. michiganhockey11 - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Being an avid hockey fan, I love that name. Such history with the hockey program at the school. I guess I better get myself a jersey before they stop printing them, right? One of the greatest sports logo’s in the world.

    I sincerely hope the university is able to keep it.

  3. dawglb - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    The Seminole Nation loves that Florida State University is the Home of the Seminoles. Does anyone know how the Sioux Nation feels about this? Personally, I feel like it is a sign of respect (not disrespect) having The Fighting Sioux as their name. Hope it stays!

  4. imforbigblue - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Because that state has nothing better it needs to fix besides a schools nick name and we wonder why our Country is so messed up SMH

  5. hoosiercolts - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    I get “Redmen” or “Redskins” being offensive, but “Fighting Sioux”?? Really, how is that not a tribute?

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