North Dakota Bill Fights to Keep Sioux Nickname for University

Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 12:07 PM

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The Republican majority of the North Dakota House approved a proposal Monday to keep the Fighting Sioux nickname for the University of North Dakota, the Bismarck Tribune reported Tuesday. The NCAA has been pushing the school to drop its nickname.

North Dakota, Fighting Sioux, logoThe measure would write the nickname into state law and bar the school or state education officials from changing it. It also would direct the state attorney general to pursue an antitrust lawsuit if the NCAA penalizes the school for its nickname.

"This is a state identity bill,” State Rep. Mike Schatz, a Republican told the newspaper. “This isn't just about the University of North Dakota. It's bigger than that.”

Proponents argue that most North Dakotans want the logo and nickname to stay, and that it’s used in a respectful manner and the local Standing Rock Sioux tribe never had a say in the battle. Opponents don’t think it’s worth the fight, and they question the constitutionality of the law and the legislature’s jurisdiction over it.

"This bill, it seems to me, is another example of the contagious overreaching that seems to afflict this session," said state Rep. Eliot Glassheim, a Grand Forks Democrat.

The bill goes on to the state Senate next.

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