After a decades-long brawl over the NCAA’s decision to ban the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo – a fight which made its way through the courts and the Legislature and the ballot box – the school has a new nickname. The “Fighting Hawks,” specifically, and it’s not terribly popular with the fan base so far.
Regardless, the university is pushing ahead, having recently engaged an expensive east coast firm to develop a new logo to go with the nickname.
Only, get a look at this post from yesterday on the official Facebook Page for the merchandise shop at the University of North Dakota’s hockey arena. Not only is it still called the “Sioux Shop” at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, but they’ve got brand-new Fighting Sioux merchandise to sell you:
In case you’re wondering, what’s going on here is a bit of brand protection.
You see, the settlement between the State of North Dakota and the NCAA over the “Fighting Sioux” logo requires that the university maintain the rights to the logo/nickname, but under the law maintaining those rights means you actually have to use the logo/nickname. Back in October of last year I emailed UND spokesman Peter Johnson about how the school planned to maintain their rights to the logo/nickname while also complying with the NCAA’s edict banning them.
“We have implemented the Dacotah Legacy Collection and several items have been released, ranging from t-shirts to bobble-heads to signs and pennants,” he told me. Or, exactly the sort of merchandise the Sioux Shop is advertising above.
So what exactly was the point of the decades-long battle over the “Fighting Sioux” nickname which supposedly had to be banned because it was hostile and abusive if fans at UND sporting events are still going to be able to buy their “Fighting Sioux” gear?
A more just outcome, something state Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot) called for here on SAB back in September, would be to give the rights to the logo/nickname back to the Sioux people. If they want to sell “Fighting Sioux” merchandise let them do it and profit.
Because this thing where the university and the NCAA supposedly got rid of the racist and offensive logo/nickname only they didn’t really get rid of it because they’re still going to make a bunch of bank off selling Sioux merchandise to fans starved for it? It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“My god they say it discriminates then use it to make money off our name!” Eunice Davidson, a member of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe who wrote a book supporting the use of the logo/nickname, told me last night.
Can anyone blame her for being frustrated?
On a related note, there still seems to be plenty of Fighting Sioux merchandise available on Amazon if you’re looking for it.