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July 23, 2014

Last ditch push to restore ‘Fighting Sioux’ name at UND

A three-judge appeals panel in St. Paul Thursday heard from supporters of the University of North Dakota’s retired nickname who made one last push to restore the Fighting Sioux mascot name.

The Grand Forks Herald reports that lawyers for the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe, which supports the nickname, asked the Eighth U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a district court order dismissing their lawsuit against the NCAA.  Nickname supporters at the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux reservations claimed they were not included in discussions when the NCAA and the state negotiated a settlement to retire the nickname and Indian head logo.

Sixty-eight-percent of North Dakota voters last June voted to drop the nickname. Three days later, the Spirit Lake committee filed documents with the appeals court, arguing that the Sioux people had been denied “a seat at the table” as the issue worked through state and federal courts.

Presiding Judge Lavenski Smith said the three-member court “will continue to study the briefs and make a decision in due course.”

UND athletic teams compete officially as “North Dakota” and “UND” while the university complies with a state-imposed nickname moratorium until 2015.