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The UND Nickname Solution

March 3, 2015

With it being 2015, the University is legally allowed to have a new nickname, and discussions as to how the nickname will be selected have already begun.

The fanbase seems to be split into three camps: those in favor of changing the nickname, those who would prefer it stay due to the history and tradition associated with it, and those who militantly want it to stay regardless of anyone else’s feelings (and scapegoating political correctness when called out on it).

Personally, I grew up with the Sioux nickname, went to school under the Sioux nickname, graduated as a Sioux, and obviously the blog URL is what it is. That said, if Native Americans wanted it changed, it should be changed.

Not to re-hash old arguments and talking points that have been done to pieces, but while the name Sioux might convey things like honor, ferocity, and duty, if you’re a Lakota the name Sioux likely invokes memories of a horrible genocide the United States government perpetrated against native peoples for over a hundred years. With the duplicity and savageness shown by white men to Native Americans, I can’t blame them for not being in favor of the nickname. That said, I do think it should have been left up to a vote of the people and not for any sort of elitist council (or, less appropriately, a bunch of white professors) to decide. Native people are smart; they don’t need to be told by white people when to be offended.

With the school in the abyss of not having a nickname, I think it’s time to get one. Being the only Division 1 school without a nickname is pretty cool, and it’s a nice bit of trivia without many immediately apparent side effects other than it being awkward to write and talk about, but not having a nickname encourages fans, students, alumni, etc. to continue to call the team the Fighting Sioux and to drag out old memories.

As for the potential replacement, I will make this short and sweet. There is an obvious nickname solution that I think would appease most people: the Soo, named after the Soo railroad line that runs though North Dakota (as well as Canada and a couple other states). The chants could stay, it would be much easier to talk and write about the team, and with how important the railroads have been to the state in the transportation of wheat, coal, and now oil, it is a perfect fit.

The only downside is it might hearken back to memories of the Sioux, and at its worst perhaps prompt some racist feelings, but unfortunately I think that is going to happen regardless. The Flickertails would be a nice nod to the past, and as long as the nickname isn’t generic like Tigers I will probably support it, but the Soo would be a unique blend of past, present, and future that is just what the university needs.

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