Claims Of Backlash Over Loss Of Fighting Sioux Nickname - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Claims Of Backlash Over Loss Of Fighting Sioux Nickname

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  Some Native American students and administrators at U.N.D. say they've been hit with a silent backlash, since the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo were dropped. They claim funding for some Native American programs and events is disappearing.

  Some Native American students and staff at UND say it's clear there is resentment toward them, because the nickname was dropped.

  This sign was hanging on the Gamma Phi Sorority house for a short time on Monday. It says, you can take away our mascot, but you can't take away our pride.

Reporter: "Are Native American students and programs feeling a backlash, because the Fighting Sioux nickname was dropped?"

B.J. Rainbow, UND Student: "Yes, I think we are."

  I also talked with a couple of UND, Native American administrators. They declined to appear on camera. But they do point out that funding for a number of Native American programs and activities seems to be quietly disappearing.

   Administrators say funding for the Native American Alumni newsletter has been cut and so has funding for an annual event to promote UND to Native American high school students.  And back in 2009, this extensive study outlined numerous proposed programs and events for Native American students. The vast majority of this study… never happened.

B.J. Rainbow, UND Student:  "It's just the basic… same as it was before, when we did have the nickname and logo here. The feeling of spite and just… we got one on you." 

Peter Johnson, UND Spokesman: "Funding goes to the various departments and those individuals decide what to do with the funding. If there have been changes as to how they utilize the funds, those are made at the Department level."

Reporter: "Overall, UND has not cut any funding?"

Johnson: "That's correct."

  Johnson says they're even creating a new position on campus to deal with minority issues.

UND President Robert Kelley released the following statement regarding that banner that was hung on the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house:

Statement from UND President Robert Kelley

I was disappointed to learn Monday that Gamma Phi Beta sorority had displayed on its sorority house a banner that read "You can take away our mascot but you can't take away our pride.  Men's 2014 NCAA Frozen Four."  The banner and the timing of the banner -- at the beginning of Time Out week, sponsored by the UND Indian Studies Association -- demonstrated a lack of sensitivity.  I do appreciate that the banner was quickly removed.  UND has a long-standing respect for the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, which we teach in many of our academic programs.  Along with that, we have a critical responsibility to promote respect and civility within our campus community.  We teach and model respect for others.  It is imperative that, through our actions, we demonstrate respect for all.

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