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Jerome M. Bixby, Published July 22 2011

NCAA should butt out of UND’s decisions about its own identity

I agree 100 percent with Ross Nelson of Casselton, N.D., and praise the dedicated effort of Rep. Al Carlson of Fargo in the rightful pursuit of the University of North Dakota to keep the Sioux name as their nickname and logo (column, July 10).

Where in the world did the NCAA get the power to meddle in and dictate to states and schools what their personal identities are instead of the job everyone thought they were supposed to do, which is to regulate and govern the nation’s amateur athletic programs? And when they butt into the business of these academic identities, how they do it so partially?

The Florida State Seminoles, the Utah Utes, the Illinois Illini, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish? What’s with that? Don’t we hear the 2 percent squeaking roar in these instances that get oiled and make 98 percent of the dissenting racket about the cruel, insensitive, hostile, racist and abusive overtones that these school nicknames denote?

In the case of the University of North Dakota, didn’t they get the approval of the Standing Rock tribal elders back in the 1960s with their blessing to use the Sioux name with pride as the school’s identity? Combined with the 67 percent approval rating voted on by the Spirit Lake tribe, it looks like there is no problem meeting the dictates of the worldly NCAA. I would bet that if the Standing Rock Tribal Council would permit a tribal-wide vote, the results would be similar to that at Spirit Lake.

In a way, the Sioux nickname controversy is a moot point anyway. The “Sioux” word is a nickname that means “enemy” or “snake” in the French and adversary Native American languages, when referring to the two said North Dakota tribes. We don’t have Sioux Indians here; we have Lakota and Dakota Native Americans. There is actually no such tribe as Sioux; it is not their real name.

So let us get the dictatorial NCAA off UND’s back and have UND’s president grow a backbone and get on with what is only important to UND people and fans. Go, Sioux!