Although the name "Fighting Sioux" was consigned to the annals of history four years ago, the controversial nickname is suddenly appearing again on merchandise sold by the University of North Dakota.
But the name won't be making a permanent return to UND stores – a limited number of products went on sale recently so the university could fulfill trademark obligations.
UND recently selected "Fighting Hawks" as the new name of its sports teams after a contentious voting process, four years after the NCAA told the school to retire the "Fighting Sioux" name amid criticism from Native American groups.
As The Forum News Service reports, a settlement agreement with the NCAA stipulated that UND is required to keep the Fighting Sioux trademark.
To maintain the trademark however, it must produce and sell merchandise bearing the logo. Otherwise under trademark law someone else could take over the trademark and start mass producing Fighting Sioux athletic gear, Forum explains.
Limited amounts of Fighting Sioux branded goods appeared last week in the Ralph Engelstad Arena Sioux shop, Scheels sporting goods store, and the campus book store as part of the U's "Dakotah Legacy Collection," the Grand Forks Herald reports.
UND told the newspaper a second batch of merchandise will hit the shelves in the summer, with the university having a deal in place to produce 9,000 products.
The Associated Press reports most of the new items sold out within hours.
The decision to sell only a limited run of Fighting Sioux gear was criticized by a group opposing the retirement of the Fighting Sioux name.
"We also feel the Fighting Sioux name and symbol should continue to be marketed far and wide, as there still is a huge demand for it, and they are leaving money on the table by not doing so," a post on the No more Fighting Sioux = No more alumni donations Facebook page said.
According to UND's public timeline, the goal is to select a new design for the logo this summer, with full use of the new branding coming this fall.