Fighting Sioux debate shifts to federal court

Fargo, North Dakota (AP) April 2012

The ongoing dispute over the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname has shifted venues from the state Supreme Court to federal court.

Attorneys are scheduled to meet in Fargo to argue whether a lawsuit by the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe and Standing Rock Sioux member Archie Fool Bear should move forward.

The suit claims several rights violations. It seeks at least $10 million from the NCAA and a reversal of its policy banning use of American Indian imagery.

The NCAA says the complaint has no legal basis and should be dismissed.

The North Dakota Supreme Court last month refused to block a statewide election on whether UND must keep the nickname. The vote is June 12. If Fighting Sioux supporters lose, UND intends to drop the moniker.