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Published April 21, 2009, 10:34 PM

Spirit Lake voters overwhelmingly support UND's Fighting Sioux nickname

FORT TOTTEN, N.D. - Spirit Lake voters apparently overwhelmingly supported the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname in a referendum Tuesday.

By: Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald

FORT TOTTEN, N.D. - Spirit Lake voters apparently overwhelmingly supported the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname in a referendum Tuesday.

The Herald is still trying to verify the results with election judges. Nickname supporter Eunice Davidson said her source at the ballot-counting site said the unofficial results are 774 “yes” and 378 “no,” giving the nickname 67 percent of the vote.

Nickname opponents portrayed the issue as a battle against racism, but voters appeared not to see it that way. Some said they had heard what opponents had to say and it did not sway them.

UND needs the blessings of the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes to keep the nickname as part of its settlement with the NCAA, which opposes Indian mascots.

Nickname supporters in Standing Rock are working to get that tribe to support the nickname, too, but the Tribal Council has resisted a referendum.

Terry Morgan, a Spirit Lake nickname opponent, said his group will con-tinue to fight the nick-name, but he’s not sure how yet.

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