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Letter: Dakota nickname could spell more trouble for UND

In The Forum’s May 26 online edition, you included the survey “Vote for your favorites in our UND Nickname Challenge.”

It is with sadness that we see “North Dakota” emerging in a leading position. It was a commendable act of respect to name our beautiful state after a large group of its residents.

Using the same term as a nickname for sports teams is bound to cause problems similar to those of the previous name.

When the term “Sioux” was selected as the UND nickname, there was insufficient awareness of how disrespectfully groups of sports fans can treat a nickname in the heat of competition. If “Dakota” were used in slurs, the situation would be no better.

Other problematic candidates include Nokota, which sounds similar to Nakota, and Night Riders, which has racist connotations. We recommend having a representative group of American Indian delegates meet with the task force early in the selection process.

Also signing this letter are: Alan Denton, Yagna Jarajapu, Denise Lajimodiere, Melanie Nadeau, Melissa Olson, Claudette Peterson, Larry Peterson, Birgit Pruess, Brandy A. Randall, Kelly Sassi, Gary Totten, Pearl Walker.