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View Full Version : One Indian Mascot Name that is Staying for Now...



Tom Naeger
11-16-2009, 01:47 PM
I wonder if North Dakota is regerting not taking legal action to keep their mascot name now that the US Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from a group who claims the NFL's 'Redskins' name is offensive. This legal battle been going on 17 years...

Story link below...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575311,00.html?test=latestnews

Hoping any comments to this are civil...

MavsFan
11-16-2009, 01:50 PM
I wonder if North Dakota is regerting not taking legal action to keep their mascot name now that the US Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from a group who claims the NFL's 'Redskins' name is offensive. This legal battle been going on 17 years...

Story link below...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575311,00.html?test=latestnews

Hoping any comments to this are civil...Completely different issues. One is a group without any real legal standing trying to make someone change a name because they are offended, the other is the NCAA, a voluntary association, making rules for its members.

Dirty
11-16-2009, 01:54 PM
UND did take legal action. They came to a settlement with the NCAA which has led to the current mess that is occurring with the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education and the Standing Rock Tribe.

Siouxfaninseattle
11-16-2009, 01:58 PM
I wonder if North Dakota is regerting not taking legal action to keep their mascot name now that the US Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from a group who claims the NFL's 'Redskins' name is offensive. This legal battle been going on 17 years...

Story link below...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575311,00.html?test=latestnews

Hoping any comments to this are civil...

Thanks for posting the story. UND did take legal action to keep the Fighting Sioux name, and settled with the NC$$ before the case was heard. I don't think they have any choice but to comply with the terms of the settlement, which, among other things, required UND to get the two Sioux tribes in North Dakota to agree to the use of the nickname by November, 2010. There was a suit filed recently by members of one of the tribes which seeks to prevent the state board of education from eliminating the nickname without further discussions with the tribe. The board decided to move up the deadline without any conversations with the tribes.

Tom Naeger
11-16-2009, 02:17 PM
Completely different issues. One is a group without any real legal standing trying to make someone change a name because they are offended, the other is the NCAA, a voluntary association, making rules for its members.

I agree the cases are different, but this is an example of how following through on a lawsuit could have worked in UNDs case. I also think you could challange the notion that the NCAA is a "voluntary" association. They are the only real option for college's to compete in sports at a high level. But even if you accept that arguement that they are a "voluntary" association one could argue that they do not have the right to infringe on a members first amendment right as a matter of membership. That could be consider discriminatory. I am not a lawyer, and I am not sure even a lawyer could answer those questions for sure. As they say it would be a matter for the jury to decide.

I am very aware of the history and at the time I was critical of UND for settling the suit the way they did. I did not post this story to try and start the arguement up again on the Mascot name being offensive or not, but rather as an example that a lawsuit may have been a wise course of action for UND. If I was an UND alumni I would be about as upset with the adminstration there as the NCAA.

Red Cloud
11-16-2009, 02:18 PM
Obviously, the Redskins issue won't get resolved until Ron His Horse is Thunder sounds off.

richl49
11-16-2009, 02:38 PM
on the face of it I always thought the Redskins nickname and Cleveland's mascot Chief Wahoo clearly were more demeaning than something like the Fighting Sioux. Redskins has taken on a more derogatory meaning in recent years than when it was orginally chosen, but it would still be like having a team called the Washington Whites or the Washington Blacks, which seems odd if not overly offensive. (I would equate the name Indians more along the line of saying the Washington Europeans or, I guess, Washington Native Americans)

It is difficult to tell if indians are upset with the nicknames or if it is just indian activists. In most cases I do think the indians should have a say in names that depict their race or culture, but I'm not completely convinced it is a cause of disturbance to the average indian. Here in Alaska many schools still have indian names that do seem a bit more appropriate since many of the players are indians themselves, but of course not all of them are. And there is a school with the nickname halfbreeds (Aniak) which takes immense pride in its name.

In the past I've seen many refer to fighting irish being on an equal level as indian names, but really it is not because irish-americans at Notre Dame were responsible for choosing the name (and the same for the Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and New York Yankees - which was and in some circles still is a derogatory name). I doubt indians were involved in the choice of too many school nicknames.

In my view most of the nicknames and mascots should and could be looked at as sources of pride among tribes and possibly used (like it was and is in North Dakota) as a tie-in with the school/organization for education and support, but if the tribe (the whole tribe and not a few talking heads) is vehemently against it, I think it should be changed whether there is a legal right to keep it or not. In other words although I don't find it offensive, my opinion matters less than somebody who belongs to the Dakota/sioux tribe.

I just hope the polar bear activists don't start coming after the Nanooks and their mascot for giving polar bears a bad rap (in a destorying the world kind of way).

Kudos to anyone who makes it through this long, rambling post!

richl49
11-16-2009, 02:45 PM
Don't mean to hijack the thread, but thought this story on the Aniak Halfbreeds might make for good reading for people interested in this subject.


http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/090605/spo_20050906001.shtml

Old Pio
11-16-2009, 03:12 PM
on the face of it I always thought the Redskins nickname and Cleveland's mascot Chief Wahoo clearly were more demeaning than something like the Fighting Sioux. Redskins has taken on a more derogatory meaning in recent years than when it was orginally chosen, but it would still be like having a team called the Washington Whites or the Washington Blacks, which seems odd if not overly offensive. (I would equate the name Indians more along the line of saying the Washington Europeans or, I guess, Washington Native Americans)

It is difficult to tell if indians are upset with the nicknames or if it is just indian activists. In most cases I do think the indians should have a say in names that depict their race or culture, but I'm not completely convinced it is a cause of disturbance to the average indian. Here in Alaska many schools still have indian names that do seem a bit more appropriate since many of the players are indians themselves, but of course not all of them are. And there is a school with the nickname halfbreeds (Aniak) which takes immense pride in its name.

In the past I've seen many refer to fighting irish being on an equal level as indian names, but really it is not because irish-americans at Notre Dame were responsible for choosing the name (and the same for the Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and New York Yankees - which was and in some circles still is a derogatory name). I doubt indians were involved in the choice of too many school nicknames.

In my view most of the nicknames and mascots should and could be looked at as sources of pride among tribes and possibly used (like it was and is in North Dakota) as a tie-in with the school/organization for education and support, but if the tribe (the whole tribe and not a few talking heads) is vehemently against it, I think it should be changed whether there is a legal right to keep it or not. In other words although I don't find it offensive, my opinion matters less than somebody who belongs to the Dakota/sioux tribe.

I just hope the polar bear activists don't start coming after the Nanooks and their mascot for giving polar bears a bad rap (in a destorying the world kind of way).

Kudos to anyone who makes it through this long, rambling post!

Thoughtful post. And the issue with Redskins has primarily devolved into a question of copyrights and service marks and not the appropriateness of the name.

To my knowledge there have been two scientific polls to gauge the attitudes of native americans on this issue. One by Sports Illustrated (Harris group did the polling) and another, IIRC, by the Annenberg Group. In both cases the polls found overwhelming majorities had no problem with nicknames, etc, and even didn't have a problem with Redskins, which to most of us feels offensive on some level. BTW, the samples were balanced as between those living on reservations and those who don't.

The problem with native americans "having a say in names that depict their race or culture" is where do you draw the line? How far down the road to Balkanization, with special, First Amendment trumping rights issued to certain groups do we want to go?

I've posted previously about a Milwaukee area high school that has an indian nickname and Indian themed mascot. Another school in that same district decided to air brush the "offending" school's logo from its gymnasium wall, replacing it instead with some sort of generic logo. Turns out the first school had a significant native american population, and those folks had worked with the school to create the logo, mascot, etc. So there was a case where local native americans were on board, but white liberals in another community weren't. What sense does that make?

The core value of political correctness is the avoidance of giving offense to certain, select groups. While not a bad idea in the abstract, we run into a problem when the desire not to give offense hardens into a "right not to be offended." That's inconsistent with the First Amendment, and no amount of spinning can change that. And your opinion on these matters is no more or less valuable than any native american's. One man. One vote.

MavsFan
11-16-2009, 03:14 PM
...even if you accept that arguement that they are a "voluntary" association one could argue that they do not have the right to infringe on a members first amendment right as a matter of membership. That could be consider discriminatory.The Bill of Rights relates to the powers of the government. The NCAA cannot violate your constitutional rights because they are not the government, nor are they acting as a governmental agent. The only legal question that could be pursued is whether the NCAA is overstepping their authority as it is spelled out in the terms of membership, which I have no way of knowing.

Old Pio
11-16-2009, 03:25 PM
The Bill of Rights relates to the powers of the government. The NCAA cannot violate your constitutional rights because they are not the government, nor are they acting as a governmental agent. The only legal question that could be pursued is whether the NCAA is overstepping their authority as it is spelled out in the terms of membership, which I have no way of knowing.

I think you may be right. And the Supreme Court has previously ruled favor of groups and their rules. In '72 (IIRC) a group of Daley delegates, voted for by over a million Chicagoans, was not seated at the Democratic convention because they had not been selected in accordance with the rules. A second group of delegates, for whom nobody voted, was seated in their place. The supremes were okay with that.

However, if the NC$$ can impose its will on member schools in the chosing of nicknames, how about school songs, or words to the alma mater, or school colors, or uniform design, or coach hiring and firing, or menu selection at the training table, or whether teams should fly charter or regularly scheduled, etc., etc. Where does it end?

MavsFan
11-16-2009, 03:31 PM
However, if the NC$$ can impose its will on member schools in the chosing of nicknames, how about school songs, or words to the alma mater, or school colors, or uniform design, or coach hiring and firing, or menu selection at the training table, or whether teams should fly charter or regularly scheduled, etc., etc. Where does it end?That's the question I left unanswered at the end of my last post, because I don't know the answer. I would think that the limits of their authority is spelled out in the agreements somewhere, but I have no idea what those limits are.

Old Pio
11-16-2009, 03:34 PM
That's the question I left unanswered at the end of my last post, because I don't know the answer. I would think that the limits of their authority is spelled out in the agreements somewhere, but I have no idea what those limits are.

Me either. But if I had to guess, I'd bet that the association's charter makes no mention of nicknames, logos, etc. But there probably is some sort of generic authority, under the rubric of "conduct unbecoming," etc.

SoCalSiouxFan
11-17-2009, 11:37 AM
http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/140932/


If the nickname is changed, do opponents think everyone is going to throw their Sioux jerseys away and never wear the logo again? In fact, people would wear Sioux gear for decades.

When my 5-year-old puts on his little Sioux hockey jersey to play floor hockey, he feels like a superhero. No toy or clothes make him get so excited.

Because of the name and logo, he knows about American Indian culture in our state, and he cannot understand when I tell him that some people want to change it.

The logo was voted the No. 1 logo in the country

Loved this commentary.

I too have boys running around playing floor hockey in Sioux Jersey's. And because of that they will also learn to respect Native American culture and history.

California has enacted legislation prohibiting Indian logo's and Mascots in K-12 schools, with a few exceptions for some Native American schools. Meanwhile schools here are being named after Hispanic and African American leaders, seems somewhat biased and discriminatory to be able to only honor some cultures and ethnic groups but not others.

Turk 77
11-17-2009, 12:10 PM
I think the the Non Violent Native Americans would satisfy everyone they could keep the green and white and black colors and have one of them Walmart yellow happy faces with a feather that way they wouldnt be so scary to the tots :D

schiegs
11-17-2009, 12:15 PM
California has enacted legislation prohibiting Indian logo's and Mascots in K-12 schools, with a few exceptions for some Native American schools.

This I don't get. Why is okay for a Native American to call himself "Chief", "Warrior", "Fighting Navajo" or anything else...... but a white guy can't call him the same thing?

Reminds me of a current word that is a racial slur if I say, but if someone else says it, its a fraternal greeting.

Turk 77
11-17-2009, 12:17 PM
This I don't get. Why is okay for a Native American to call himself "Chief", "Warrior", "Fighting Navajo" or anything else...... but a white guy can't call him the same thing?

Reminds me of a current word that is a racial slur if I say, but if someone else says it, its a fraternal greeting.In our new climate of political correctness reverse predjudice is acceptable and even funny ;)

unofan
11-17-2009, 01:06 PM
I wonder if North Dakota is regerting not taking legal action to keep their mascot name now that the US Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from a group who claims the NFL's 'Redskins' name is offensive. This legal battle been going on 17 years...

Story link below...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575311,00.html?test=latestnews

Hoping any comments to this are civil...

Of course, even if Pro Football, Inc. had lost that suit, the Redskins name itself was not in any danger. The suit only sought to have its trademark revoked, and the issue was over the legal doctrine of laches (basically, undue delay), not the substance of the case itself.


They are the only real option for college's to compete in sports at a high level. But even if you accept that arguement that they are a "voluntary" association one could argue that they do not have the right to infringe on a members first amendment right as a matter of membership. That could be consider discriminatory. I am not a lawyer, and I am not sure even a lawyer could answer those questions for sure.

As others have said, the 1st Amendment only applies to gov't actions. The NCAA can discriminate in choosing its membership as much as Augusta National, the local order of the Shriners, or the D.A.R.. The only thing NoDak could really rely upon would be breach of contract regarding the NCAA charter and/or its membership rules; there isn't really a constitutional arguement in play. North Dakota may have a first amendment right to pick its own nickname, but that doesn't mean the NCAA has to provide it with a platform to actually do so.