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The tribal board of advisors for UND's Indians into Medicine program has urged the school to drop its Fighting Sioux nickname and logos.
However, only 15 of the INMED board's 34 members attended Saturday's meeting, when the resolution was unanimously passed.
The meeting was scheduled before UND unveiled its new Indian head logo two weeks ago, and INMED Board Chairman David Gipp said the group hadn't planned on taking any action. But when the issue came up, he said the board decided it was important to let UND know its position.
"If a logo and terminology incites people to become very negative, then it's not something worth keeping," said Gipp, a UND alumnus and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
"INMED has had an honored history in providing sorely needed health care professionals in our community," Gipp continued. "The logo in hand, even with the redesign, does not serve that purpose very well."
Gipp, who is also president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, was particularly critical of a Nov. 26 editorial in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead that praised a new Indian head logo unveiled by UND two weeks ago.
The Forum editorial criticized a small group of activists opposed to the nickname who "revel in being chronically offended." The unsigned editorial said some of those opponents "have been students for about seven years -- a long time for any undergraduate course of study."
Said Gipp, "I really considered it to be a vitriolic piece that in itself was racist, and if that is what a logo does, I expect it's less than inspirational when it is spawning this discontent and disunity."
Work with Kupchella
INMED Director Eugene DeLorme said the resolution was delivered to UND President Charles Kupchella on Monday along with a letter that invited an opportunity for INMED's board to work with Kupchella, UND officials and the Alumni Foundation and UND Foundation on a new logo.
DeLorme is not a member of the tribal board and did not vote on the resolution. Asked his opinion of the nickname and logo, DeLorme said, "I think that anything that causes as much divisiveness on a university campus is not necessarily valuable to an academic community."
Gipp declined to speculate on whether the board's vote would have been different if all 34 members had been present. He said he was surprised that those present voted unanimously against the nickname.
Also, Gipp acknowledged that American Indians in North Dakota themselves have different opinions on UND's Fighting Sioux nickname.
Source: Grand Forks Herald, December 7, 1999