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Published January 26, 2011, 10:51 AM

Sioux Fight in ND House Over UND Nickname Begins

A North Dakota lawmaker says the voices of the Sioux people were ignored when the state Board of Higher Education decided to get rid of the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A member of the Standing Rock Sioux's tribal council says the board has wanted the University of North Dakota to drop its Fighting Sioux nickname for almost 20 years.

Some state lawmakers want the council to order a referendum on whether UND should keep the name.

Councilman Joseph McNeil says the tribe's constitution doesn't provide the authority to hold a referendum.

He says even if a vote took place there would be questions about whether to count votes from tribal members in South Dakota.

McNeil spoke Wednesday to the North Dakota House's Education Committee. It is reviewing three bills that would stop the planned retirement of the nickname.