ND Board of Higher Education hears public comments opposed to keeping UND nickname, logo

Louise Oleson, Editor
Jesse Taken Alive

“We respectfully ask you to no longer use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. We believe this is not a UND issue, but a Ralph Engelstad Arena issue,” stated Jesse Taken Alive from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

After nearly a full day of meeting, voting and discussing a lengthy list of agenda items, the ND Board of Higher Education opened the floor for public comments at its meeting held here in Devils Lake Thursday.

Taken Alive explained he was in the Lake Region attending a conference on suicide prevention, an important  topic on the reservation.

He said he was speaking for his tribe and explained the heirarchy of tribal government from his reservation. He stated that the tribal chair is the top. Then, below the chairperson are the tribal secretary, treasurer and vice-chair. Below them are six elected council representatives who serve the reservation at-large.  Below those representatives are the individuals elected to represent each community or district.

He is one of the six councilmen who serve at-large.

“Our tribal governments are not all the same,” he said. “This is how we have it set up.”

It was his request to the board that they do away with using the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo at UND. He cited numerous times it had been addressed by his tribal government starting in the early 1990s. Each citation, either a resolution or vote, ended in the request that the nickname be dropped.

No action was taken by the Higher Ed Board, but the chairman had a couple of questions for Taken Alive and then thanked him for his comments.

Shortly thereafter the meeting was adjourned.

Eunice Davidson, from the Spirit Lake Nation, was present for Taken Alive’s comments, however, she did not step up to add anything.

When asked about it following the meeting’s end, she stated that upon advice from council, they would like to wait until the North Dakota Supreme Court rules on the matter.

Davidson has been one of the spokespersons for those members of the Spirit Lake Nation who are in favor of keeping the nickname and logo at UND.

President of LRSC, Dr. Michael Bower, welcomes those attending a luncheon Thursday with members of the State Board of Higher Education.