US: Sioux in court to fight for college nickname

The Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota were to be no more, another collegiate nickname dropped after being deemed hostile and abusive to American Indians, writes Monica Davey for The New York Times. Except that some members of the Spirit Lake Tribe, one of two groups of Sioux in the state, say they consider the nickname an honour and worry that abandoning it would send them one step closer to obscurity. "When you hear them announce the name at the start of a hockey game, it gives you goose bumps," said Frank Black Cloud, a tribal member. "They are putting us up on a pinnacle."

And so, in a legal standoff that has turned some preconceptions upside down, North Dakota's top state lawyers were in court last Wednesday to oppose members of the Spirit Lake Tribe who have sued to preserve the Fighting Sioux name and logo, an image of an Indian in profile, feathers draping down.

The battle here, like some others at the 20 or so institutions urged by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to drop their mascots, names or images, has been painful and drawn out. The University of North Dakota is the only one still sorting the matter out, an NCAA spokesman said, and it is creating rifts on this campus of 13,000 students, among its web of alumni that run through nearly every realm in North Dakota, and, especially, among American Indians.
Full report on The New York Times site