It’s been the Fighting Sioux since the late Ralph Engelstad, casino and real estate developer, played goalie on the hockey team at the University of North Dakota.
But, that may change.
Getting to vote on whether the name will be changed are members of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe, the result of a signature drive by supporters of the team name and logo. Two tribal reservations are involved: the Spirit Lake and the Standing Rock.
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"If the Sioux people of North Dakota don’t want the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo to be used by UND’s athletic programs," read a statement from the Engelstad Family Foundation, "we are willing to live with their decision."
That might not have been the case if Engelstad were alive.
Engelstad, a proud Fighting Sioux during and after his college days, founded and operated the Imperial Palace Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. He gave the university $100 million to build the Ralph Engelstad Arena on the university campus, but insisted the team’s nickname should not be changed
Opponents have suggested the nickname is insulting to Native Americans, and the NCAA has demanded that the tribes approve its use. No alternative nickname has yet been suggested.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Ray Poirier