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Original Issue


Native American mascots

SI PLAYERS, NOV.20, 2006

When the NCAAbanned its members from using "hostile" and "abusive" NativeAmerican nicknames or mascots in 2005, most of the 18 schools affected by theruling changed their logos. North Dakota, home of the Fighting Sioux, was notone of them. Last fall North Dakota sued the NCAA and won a temporary orderallowing it to continue using Fighting Sioux imagery while the case movedthrough court. Last week the case was settled: North Dakota can keep itsnickname for three more years but must drop it if the Spirit Lake Sioux andStanding Rock Sioux tribes don't approve its use after 2010.

"Thesettlement confirms that the Sioux people—and no one else—should decide whetherand how their name should be used," NCAA senior vice president BernardFranklin said. That's bad news for North Dakota, which has spent an estimated$2 million—most of it paid by private donors—on the lawsuit. Leaders of bothSioux tribes have said they oppose the nickname; the settlement may breedfurther resentment. Said Ron His Horse Is Thunder, the chairman of the StandingRock tribe, "This takes the onus off UND ... and it puts all the pressureon tribes and tribal councils to somehow change their minds."