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Published November 05, 2011, 03:08 PM

Nickname Foes Appeal to Tribal Council

Their goal: To remove nickname supporters’ authority to sue NCAA Spirit Lake opponents of UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname asked the Tribal Council on Friday to rescind authority the council gave to the pro-nickname Committee for Understanding and Respect to speak for the tribe on the issue.

By: Chuck Haga, grandforkshearld.com

Spirit Lake opponents of UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname asked the Tribal Council on Friday to rescind authority the council gave to the pro-nickname Committee for Understanding and Respect to speak for the tribe on the issue.

Acting with that authority, the committee filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the NCAA.

Nickname opponents then announced that they would circulate petitions calling for a referendum on whether the tribe should sue the association. The petition also seeks revocation of the committee’s grant of authority and a public accounting of money raised and spent by the committee.

In a letter dated Thursday but submitted to Tribal Council members late today, nickname opponents said they “would prefer not to have the tribe go through a very costly, very public referendum that will promote vicious infighting among tribal members,” and asked that the council rescind the resolution authorizing the committee to speak for the tribe.

“This would bring about an immediate resolution to this crisis,” they said.

There was no immediate response from tribal officials.

In their letter, the nickname opponents raised concerns about members of the Committee for Understanding and Respect and their recent actions, including not allowing some tribal members to ask questions during the news conference Wednesday at tribal offices.

“We respect the committee’s dedication to keeping the name,” the opponents wrote, “but they do not have to drag the entire tribal membership into their fight.”

The letter was signed by Erich Longie, a longtime opponent of UND’s use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, on behalf of an unspecified number of other Spirit Lake tribal members.

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