I don't often praise government intervention in much of anything, but in this case both the North Dakota House and Senate deserve kudos. They have gone against the dictates of the NCAA who barred schools using such names from hosting championships or wearing the images during playoffs.
They were magnanimous enough to allow that with approval of the "named" tribes, in this case the Sioux, an exemption could be made.
The "Fighting Sioux". What image does that conjure up? Yes, they suffered mightily at the hands of the whites. They were also fierce warriors and a proud people. That's the image I equate with the team name and logo. There is nothing insulting about it.
There are two namesake tribes in this case and the university obtained the permission of one. Where they stand with the second I'm not sure, but history, tradition and, yes, pride meant more to the legislature. Many I would guess are alums and probably have logo sweatshirts tucked away or maybe even still proudly worn. They'd not be given up willingly.
The irony is that if the "Fighting Sioux" went away there are still some 400, 000 nicknames out there. We know on a scale somewhat larger than the NCAA, the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians with their Chief Wahoo are still alive and well.
I don't know. If I were generic Native American, which most are today, I think if I were to be offended by one or the other it would be Chief Wahoo over the Fighting Sioux! A caricature to be sure. But offensive? Hardly.
In either case, Native Americans, no matter the tribe, are a part of our history and culture. I know many, mostly artists because of our interest, and I find them not unlike us. The main difference I think is their awareness of who they are and from whence they came. A proud people who wanted no more than to be left to live their lives.
We certainly did nothing to help help them any more than we're helping people who want the same today, but rather than being insulted, the use of their images to portray those characteristics could be considered a compliment. When the teams were named I'm sure insults were the last thing on any one's mind, but rather an image of competitiveness, strength and courage. An image we seem to be losing sight of in ourselves.