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Published November 30, 2010, 09:07 PM

Judge Will Not Force Nickname Vote At Standing Rock

Saving UND's Fighting Sioux nickname from retirement seems almost impossible after a judge says he will not force a tribal vote on the issue. Chief Judge William Zuger's ruling says that the Standing Rock Tribe has sovereign immunity from any lawsuit aimed at forcing a popular vote on UND's use the Fighting Sioux nickname.

Saving UND's Fighting Sioux nickname from retirement seems almost impossible tonight, after a judge says he will not force a tribal vote on the issue.

The action comes just the night before the nickname is to be officially retired, in the absence of approval from the state's two Sioux Tribes.

WDAZ first told you about a lawsuit filed on the Standing Rock Reservation to get a tribal judge there to rule that the issue must be put to a vote of the people, but late Tuesday, the judge ruled that he will not make the tribe hold such a vote.

Chief Judge William Zuger's ruling says that the tribe has sovereign immunity from any lawsuit aimed at forcing a popular vote on UND's use of the Fighting Sioux nickname.

Zuger found that the Tribe did not violate its constitution, the Indian Civil Rights Act, or any of its own ordinances in June when it turned down a request for a public vote on the issue.

The other namesake tribe-- at Spirit Lake in Fort Totten-- previously held a tribe-wide vote which showed overwhelming support for UND's use of the nickname and logo. Their eleventh-hour pleas to the NCAA to reconsider retiring the nickname did not work. An NCAA spokesman says the issue is "already settled."

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