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Kupchella Defends UND Nickname

Bismarck, ND – The president of the University of North Dakota defended the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname during the United Tribes Intertribal Council Summit in Bismarck today (Thursday). Dr. Charles Kupchella says the issue isn't important to most people and it pales in comparison to other issues like education and unemployment.

Kupchella was not able to attend an earlier panel discussion on Indian mascots at the Intertribal Summit. Kupchella says the issue of the Fighting Sioux nickname is not a white-versus-Indian controversy. He says a recent poll finds most Caucasians and Native Americans don't think the issue is important. Kupchella says there is nothing harmful, hostile, or abusive in the use of the nickname.
There would not be 450 American Indian students going to school there and getting a very fine education if there was anything about it that was unusually hostile or abusive in any way. So I continue I do not have the power you thought I might have had I will continue to do my best to exercise the power that I do have and make sure that what we do is done with consonant respect.
But United Tribes Technical College President Dr. David Gipp says he hopes the state Board of Higher Education, Governor John Hoeven, the state's Congressional delegation, and a good number of legislators will reconsider the debate.
DG1: It allows those of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota heritage to reexamine the whole usage of the term Sioux and what it's origins are about. And perhaps it highly inadequately represents who we really are. And those are the kinds of examinations and discussions and debates that I think are positive about this whole thing. It is simply not a totally negative thing. It's a chance for us to move everything to the 21st Century even if we have to drag UND into the 21st Century by the Native people. That's how I look at it.
Seven Sioux tribes in North Dakota and South Dakota have signed resolutions opposed to the nickname. Kupchella has asked the N-C-A-A to appeal an earlier ruling that bans the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname during postseason tournaments.