From the Fighting Sioux to the UND Yetis? Nickname ideas are serious, silly, profane

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The University of North Dakota is getting closer to choosing a new nickname to replace the old Fighting Sioux, and many, many suggestions were submitted during April when the school was soliciting ideas from the public --hundreds of pages worth.

The school invited North Dakota residents to suggest a new nickname online and through a written submission process during the month of April. Now they've been compiled and released to the public.

Many of the ideas were sent in by multiple people, but after reviewing all of them, the school said it had 1,172 unique suggestions.

Many of the suggestions were made in earnest, with an eye toward reflecting the history and culture of North Dakota or the university.

Some of the more popular ones include:

  • Aviators (a nod to the school's highly regarded aviation programs)
  • Pilots (see above)
  • Blizzards (for obvious reasons)
  • Explorers
  • Flickertails (the school's original nickname; they're a ground squirrel)
  • NoDaks
  • Roughnecks

And of course, many were profane or just plain silly. Here are a few printable ones:

  • Abominable snowmen
  • Yetis
  • Zombies
  • Narwhals
  • Fighting Corgis
  • Nasty Norwegians
  • Sue
  • abcdefghjklmnpqrtvwyz: "The letters s, i, o, u, and x have been deleted from the alphabet because we are not the Sioux."

The university released two lists of nickname suggestions Monday: One list of the ideas that are under consideration, and another list of those that have been ruled out (note that many of them contain obscenities, racist terms and other offensive language).

As you might expect, the most popular suggestion for a new nickname was -- the old nickname, the Fighting Sioux. Between the suggestions and the comments, "Fighting Sioux" was mentioned 5,778 times, according to the Grand Forks Herald. But that's not an option.

The school retired the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo in 2012, after a long and contentious legal battle over whether the symbols were offensive to local Sioux tribes and other American Indians.

The NCAA threatened sanctions, and eventually UND agreed to drop the Fighting Sioux.

State lawmakers then put into place a three-year moratorium on choosing a new nickname, so the school’s athletic teams have been playing simply as “UND/North Dakota” since then.

That was one popular suggestion moving forward - to simply keep going with "North Dakota."

The university has a nickname committee which will start reviewing all the submissions and rate them on how well they align with the "desired attributes" laid out earlier:

  1. Be unique, recognizable, inspiring, and distinctly UND’s.
  2. Promote a sense of pride, strength, fierceness, and passion.
  3. Be representative of the state and region in a way that honors the traditions and heritage of the past but also looks to the future.
  4. Be a unifying and rallying symbol.

The nickname committee will narrow down the choices to a short list and put them to a public vote.

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