University of North Dakota Plans to Resume Using Fighting Sioux Nickname

University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley said the school will resume using the nickname of Fighting Sioux after referendum supporters filed petitions asking that it be put to a statewide vote.

In 2005, college sports’ governing body adopted a policy prohibiting the use of hostile and abusive American Indian imagery at National Collegiate Athletic Association championship events.

North Dakota sued the NCAA to challenge its inclusion on the list of schools deemed to be using hostile or abusive names and imagery. The parties settled the lawsuit, with the university retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo except where it has a historical purpose, and went with no nickname and an interlocking “N” and “D” symbol.

“I want to reaffirm our respect for the laws of the state and the process guaranteed under the North Dakota Constitution,” Kelley said in a statement.

University spokesman Peter Johnson said the school was directed to resume using the logo by the State Board of Higher Education until the issue is resolved. A vote may be held in June, according to the Associated Press.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said the school is still subject to the policy, meaning that it if reverts to using the nickname and logo, it cannot host an NCAA championship event and is prohibited from using the nickname and imagery on uniforms for athletes, cheerleaders, mascots and band members during any championship events.

The university created a blog to provide a historical account of the nickname and legal actions taken.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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