Standing Rock chairman meets with chancellor over nickname

Grand Forks, North Dakota (AP) 2-08

North Dakota University System Chancellor Bill Goetz has met with Standing Rock Sioux tribal Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder to discuss the Fighting Sioux nickname, a tribal assistant says.

An administrative assistant for the chairman said His Horse Is Thunder and Goetz met during February. Details of the meeting were not released.

A negotiated settlement between the University of North Dakota and the NCAA requires the school to have the support of the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes to keep the nickname. Otherwise, UND will drop the logo and nickname or face NCAA penalties that include denial of the right to host any postseason sports tournaments.

His Horse Is Thunder and other members of the Standing Rock tribal council have been staunch opponents of the nickname.

Goetz pledged late last year to meet with leaders of the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake reservations to discuss the nickname. He said he would report back to the state Board of Higher Education at its meeting in Mayville.

A spokeswoman for the chancellor’s office, Debra Anderson, said the meetings are private and them chancellor is asking for “understanding of the process involved.”

A spokeswoman at the Spirit Lake reservation said tribal council members went to Fort Yates but she did not know if they planned to meet with Goetz during the trip.