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Published April 09, 2010, 05:52 PM

Entire Statement from Engelstad Family Foundation

Statement from the Engelstad Family Foundation – April 9, 2010

In response to the action taken yesterday by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, the following statement is being released by the Engelstad Family Foundation.

Today, the Engelstad family can’t help but feel deeply disappointed, saddened, and deceived.

The State Board of Higher Education and the University of North Dakota are turning their backs on UND students, alumni, citizens of North Dakota and most importantly, tribal members from Spirit Lake and Standing Rock. The action taken by the Board yesterday disappoints us.

When our family made the Ralph Engelstad Arena gift announcement over a decade ago, the University of North Dakota assured us they supported the use of the name and logo and were committed to its retention. In 2006, the University of North Dakota asked us to fund UND’s legal fight against the NCAA and we agreed to do so based on the fact that the University assured us they were committed to retaining the Fighting Sioux name and logo. It is clear that our family was deceived and it is also clear that the memory of my father has been irreversibly disrespected by the University and the State Board of Higher Education.

My father was enormously proud to be identified with the Fighting Sioux and its honored heritage. My father believed this recognition was very important for both the University and the Sioux citizens of North Dakota. The Sioux warriors were known for their courage, pride, overcoming adversity and winning battles. We remain steadfast in our dedication to the students, the alumni, and the Fighting Sioux tradition at UND. We will never waiver from this position and we never forget this short-sighted and ill-advised decision.

We feel it necessary to once again answer the question of why this issue is so important to us. As my father once stated,

“Tradition is that gentle fabric woven through time and experience which generates meaning, character and identity to one and all. The Fighting Sioux logo, the Fighting Sioux tradition and the spirit of being a Fighting Sioux are of lasting value and immeasurable significance to our past, present and future.”