WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published November 22, 2009, 10:42 PM

Tribal Members Sound Off On Logo

Standing Rock and Spirit Lake tribal members spoke out about the Fighting Sioux logo at the UND student senate meeting.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

Members of the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake tribes were on the U-N-D campus tonight to discuss their stance on the Fighting Sioux nickname.

Both nickname supporters and opponents were given equal time to speak tonight.

Student senators drafted a resolution that would give full support to the Standing Rock tribe should they approve use of the nickname.

At a standing room only meeting tonight, dozens packed into the Red River Valley room at UND to hear tribal members voice their opinions on the Fighting Sioux nickname.

"Believe that we can achieve racial harmony, but we have to work toward that," Spirit Lake tribal member John Chaske said.

The two sides were each given 37 minutes to discuss their stances. Opponents cited racial issues on campus and reminded senators of past legislation that adamently reinforced the Standing Rock indian reservation's opposal to the name.

"Dakota is our name, not Sioux. Sioux is snake in the grass. French derivitave of snake in the grass," Phyllis Young said. Young is a tribal member of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

"We will not be forgotten if you guys give up the name, in fact, that name is holding us back," Erich Longie said.

Nickname supporters including Tom Iron and Sam Dupris called for mutual respect for all people involved.

"And the logo, I have never seen anything more stately or dignified, or magnificent, how could you say that is a disgrace to us?" Dupris said.

After both sides voiced their thoughts on the nickname and logo, senators debated the issue and considered passing a resolution to give support to the Standing Rock tribe if they finally approve use of the Sioux name.

"You do not want to attach yourself to a resolution that divides our student community, divides our native community, divides our tribal community and divides our alumni family," one Native American UND student said.

Standing Rock member Sam Dupris also called for senators to host a debate between both nickname supporters and opponents right on campus to discuss the issue further.