North Dakota Legislator Has Bill Ready To Keep "Fighting Sioux" Debate Alive

With the never-ending “Fighting Sioux” fight in the headlines again, sparked by recent controversies including a banner hung up at a sorority house referencing the nickname controversy and those “Siouxper Drunk” shirts at a City of Grand Forks event, a state legislator says he’s had a bill prepared for months now that would continue a moratorium on a new nickname for the university.

The current moratorium ends in January of 2015. Louser wanted to have legislation in the works to stop the university from pushing a new logo/nickname before the Legislature has a chance to act.

I wrote about it at Watchdog.org today:

He notes that his legislation wasn’t in response to a recent controversy in Grand Forks where T-shirts, some worn by people thought to be UND students at a city event not associated with the university, showed a Native American chief with a beer bong in his mouth and the phrase “Siouxper Drunk.”

“I didn’t think I needed to make an issue of it in May of 2014,” Louser said, noting his bill was prepared by legislative council months ago. …

He said he’s hoping to head off any effort to transition to a new nickname before the Legislature can act.

“If UND wanted to they could develop a new nickname and implement it during the session before we can do anything,” he said.

Louser said his bill would extend the existing moratorium by two and a half years through July 1, 2017. According to Louser, the additional time could be used to negotiate with North Dakota’s Sioux tribes. …

Even if this latest effort to keep the nickname fails, Louser isn’t ready to move on.

“If it doesn’t pass maybe we just go without a nickname forever,” he said. “That would be a discussion we would have in the 2017 session. If we get up to January of 2017 and there hasn’t been a vote yet, we’ll know about it.”

Louser tells me he’s very hopeful about having talks with North Dakota’s two Sioux tribes (the Spirit Lake Sioux support the nickname, the Standing Rock Sioux have never gotten to vote). He wants to find a solution that’s beneficial to all involved.

He also said that the university operating without a nickname hasn’t been harmful to UND, so operating without one for a few more years – or even forever – won’t hurt anything.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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