North Dakota voters reject ‘Fighting Sioux’ mascot amid protests of insensitivity

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

North Dakota residents overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday to discontinue calling their state university’s sports teams the “Fighting Sioux” after opponents have long argued that the nickname is offensive to Native Americans.

The measure calling for the University of North Dakota to discontinue using “Fighting Sioux” — which has been used for 82 years as the school’s mascot and logo — passed 67 percent to 33 percent.

Those who are for keeping the name have argued that doing so upholds the tradition of honoring the Sioux Indians.

“It’s absolutely stupid to take away a name they’ve had for so long,” Fargo construction worker Dana Johnson told TwinCities.com.

The battle over the “Fighting Sioux” name has long been fought in North Dakota.

Opponents of the name say they fear retribution from the NCAA, who in 2006 prohibited colleges from using racial or ethnic mascots at its championships. The organization also disapproves of teams using nicknames like braves, savages, Choctaws, Seminoles and Indians.

A spokeswoman for Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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