Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald – In what may well be the final chapter in the long, contentious fight over UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed a lower court’s judgment against the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe in its effort to save the nickname.
More than three months after impassioned arguments in St. Paul, the appeals court upheld the ruling last year by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson that the tribe lacked standing to sue the NCAA over its policy discouraging the use of American Indian names and images by member schools.
“The committee has not shown that the NCAA acted with discriminatory intent,” the appeals court stated in its opinion. “There is no evidence that the NCAA enacted the policy in order to eradicate Sioux culture, as the committee alleges.”
The appeals court also discounted the committee’s primary contention, that Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux elders authorized use of the name by UND in a 1969 ceremony.