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Published September 28, 2009, 03:47 PM

Fighting Sioux Nickname Opponents Meet With Tribal Council

The Spirit Lake Tribal Council approved perpetual use of U-N-D's Fighting Sioux nickname earlier this month. This has upset tribal members opposed to the nickname. Some of them met with the tribal council today.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The Spirit Lake Tribal Council approved perpetual use of U-N-D's Fighting Sioux nickname earlier this month. This has upset tribal members opposed to the nickname. Some of them met with the tribal council today.

U-N-D needs permission from both the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes by October first to keep the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. Just over a week ago the Spirit Lake tribe approved perpetual use of the nickname.

"We felt that the word 'perpetual' undermines our sovereign status, said Erich Longie.

Nickname opponents, like Longie, say they're unhappy with this decision. They say the name is disrespectful and promotes racism. Today they met with the tribal council to talk to them about reversing the decision.

"This morning I just wanted the council to realize that you've got to ask those other tribes what they think," said Skip Longie, who also opposes the nickname.

"They were very respectful and listened to us. They gave us all the time we needed to express our point of view and I feel good,said Erich Longie.

The council didn't make any decisions after hearing from the nickname opponents. Erich Longie says the nickname issue has divided people, and that will continue if the nickname isn't retired. He says this goes against the tribe's core values.

"All the actions surrounding this issue sure don't match up with those values," said Erich Longie.

UND's October first deadline to get both tribes' permission may now be extended at least until October 15.

In order to keep the nickname, U-N-D also needs permission from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to use it for at least the next 30 years.

The current tribal council said "no" to a tribe-wide vote...but there will be a vote this Wednesday to elect new tribal members.

The new council might allow a vote on the nickname.

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