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Sioux tribal members visiting UND campus

Grand Forks, North Dakota (AP) 11-07

Some of the Standing Rock Sioux tribal members who visited the University of North Dakota campus during November believe UND efforts to win support for its “Fighting Sioux” nickname might be harmful.

UND recently reached a lawsuit settlement with the NCAA that gives the school three years to win tribal support for its nickname and American Indian-head logo, or retire them. The lawsuit was over a 2005 NCAA mandate that barred the nickname’s use in postseason play. “The big thing people talked about is the divisiveness of it,” said Holly Annis, a UND Native Media Center employee who attended a Monday night meeting involving tribal members, students, faculty and alumni. “By having the university administration and the (Ralph Engelstad Arena) trying to garner their support, it pits Indian against Indian, and it makes things more difficult than they have to be. It’s like the old story of divide and conquer.”

The three-hour meeting was not open to the media. It was organized by arena general manager Jody Hodgson and arena envoy Sam Dupris, a retired FAA administrator who is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Since early summer, Dupris has been visiting the state’s Sioux reservations on the arena’s behalf.

Hodgson said the meeting was closed to news reporters because he had promised the Standing Rock group anonymity to ask questions and express their viewpoints.

The tribal group was to meet with UND President Charles Kupchella and UND Police Chief Duane Czapiewski, and were to visit the American Indian Student Service Center. Hodgson said the media would be barred from those meetings.

UND has said it uses the Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian imagery with respect.
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