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UND NICKNAME: Chancellor to visit tribes

North Dakota's Board of Higher Education today voted to authorize university system chancellor Bill Goetz to visit chairpeople at North Dakota's two Sioux reservations to discuss UND's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

North Dakota's Board of Higher Education today voted to authorize university system chancellor Bill Goetz to visit chairpeople at North Dakota's two Sioux reservations to discuss UND's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

Goetz said he plans to meet personally with Standing Rock Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder and Spirit Lake Chairwoman Myra Pearson before the state board meets in February and report back at that meeting.

Several board members insisted the visits be understood as only preliminary to a larger negotiation over the nickname involving state, federal and tribal leaders.

Goetz said he hasn't yet contacted the tribal leaders about the visit and he will not make definite plans about who will be included in the larger delegation until after the private meetings take place.

A settlement agreement in a lawsuit between UND and the NCAA gives the school three years to win tribal approval for its nickname and logo or retire both of them. When the settlement was announced, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem recommended forming a "high-level government-to-government" delegation to discuss the nickname's future with the tribes.

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That plan quickly hit snags when the Standing Rock reservation tribal council voted to reaffirm its opposition to the nickname and His Horses Is Thunder and other tribal officials vociferously denounced the nickname at a presentation on the UND campus.

Board President John Paulsen floated the idea of retiring the nickname without visiting the tribes, but that plan met strong opposition from other board members and some state leaders.

A primary message at today's state board meeting was that there was no need to rush the negotiating process. UND NICKNAME: Chancellor to visit tribes 20071221

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