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By Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald, Published April 22 2009

Spirit Lake backs UND nickname

Spirit Lake voters apparently overwhelmingly supported the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname in a referendum Tuesday.

The Herald is still trying to verify the results with election judges. Nickname supporter Eunice Davidson said her source at the ballot-counting site said the unofficial results are 774 “yes” and 378 “no,” giving the nickname 67 percent of the vote.

Nickname opponents portrayed the issue as a battle against racism, but voters appeared not to see it that way. Some said they had heard what opponents had to say and it did not sway them.

UND needs the blessings of the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes to keep the nickname as part of its settlement with the NCAA, which opposes Indian mascots.

Nickname supporters in Standing Rock are working to get that tribe to support the nickname, too, but the Tribal Council has resisted a referendum.

Terry Morgan, a Spirit Lake nickname opponent, said his group will continue to fight the nickname, but he’s not sure how yet.


The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.