Voters to Decide on University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux Nickname

Tim Goral's picture

The fight over the Fighting Sioux is headed for the ballot box in North Dakota.

Supporters of the nickname for University of North Dakota sports teams, which critics say is offensive to Native Americans, appear to have more than enough signatures to put the question to voters. Lee Ann Oliver, an election specialist for North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, told that the supporters had 1,449 more signatures than necessary to ensure a June 12 vote on the issue. At least 13,452 signatures are required.

"It's a done deal unless arguments on Thursday tell us something else," Oliver said.

The North Dakota Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the case Thursday. The state's Board of Higher Education has said the law -- which mandates the university to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and American Indian head logo -- is unconstitutional. The board is suing Jaeger in an attempt to block the vote in June.

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