Talk about a missed opportunity! The list of possible names to take the place of "The Fighting Sioux" as the UND's mascot is down to 15, selected by an 11-person committee that apparently doesn't know shit about anything. The Fargo Forum reports that one of the names eliminated "without much conversation" was "Wooly Mammoth." The most bad-ass creature of all-time lies on the cutting room floor while names like "Blaze," "Force," "North Stars," and "Spirit," are left on the list!
Committee Chairman and total dumbass, Karl Goehring, says, "I kind of like the 'Spirit,' as kind of the spirit of North Dakota."
Oh, really Karl? Well, I "kind of" think UND blew it big time here.
The North Dakota Fighting Wooly Mammoths. Logo pretty much done? Check. Stuffed animals to sell to kids? Double check. You could partner with Ice Age to sponsor your next arena. You could have Mastadon write your school fight song.
But now none of that is happening!
Also left off the list was "Flickertails," a ground squirrel-gopher-type-thing, which was the original original mascot of the university. North Dakota is actually, "The Flickertail State." But with UND's in-state rival being the NDSU Bison, students in the 1930s thought Flickertails weren't intimidating enough or offensive enough to Native peoples, so they pushed for "The Fighting Sioux" which the administration adopted for 3 stated reasons:
1) "Sioux are a good exterminating agent for Bison."
2) "They are warlike, of fine physique and bearing."
3) "The word Sioux is easily rhymed for yells and songs."
Talk about different times! Hopefully the history department didn't help the UND administration come to the conclusion that the Sioux natives exterminated the Plains States' bison population. But even if the history department had chipped in their 10 cents on who exterminated the bison, "White Christian Settlers" doesn't really rhyme easily for "yells and songs."
Unfortunately, history caught up with UND, and by the 1990s, Native attempts to remove tribal names from sports teams were gaining ground with the NCAA.
Luckily for fans of "The Fighting Sioux" name, history had not caught up with all UND graduates. One graduate who wanted to "help" was Ralph Engelstad. He was the very wealthy man who founded The Imperial Palace Casino in Las Vegas and also threw parties to celebrate Hitler's birthday, which were intended to "boost employee moral."
In 1989, The New York Times reported on Engelstad being charged $1.5 million in fines and damages for the parties that included employees wearing t-shirts that read "Adolf Hitler -- European Tour 1939-45" and a painting of Englestad in Nazi attire with the caption, "To Adolf, From Ralphie":
Now, there are "Nazi-lovers," who are disgusting. And then there are "Nazi-lovers with $100 Million to give to the University of North Dakota," who are great people with just misunderstood senses of humor -- get off their backs you PC-gestapo!
In 1999, Englestad offered UND $100 million to build a new hockey arena with the stipulation that the university never change their mascot from the "Fighting Sioux." And just in case the university tried to squelch, Englestad had designers sprinkle "Sioux" mascots liberally throughout the arena like Swastikas at a Nuremberg Rally.
In 2001, UND's "Fuck the NCAA and the Whiney Injuns Too Arena" was completed! None other than acclaimed architecture critic Wayne Gretzky called it, "one of the most beautiful buildings we have in North America."
In 2002, Engelstad died of lung cancer -- if only those Nazis had been allowed to complete their eugenics research on Jews, queers, and Gypsies, we'd have Englestad with us today.
By 2012, with failed attempts to get Native permission to keep the name, "The Fighting Sioux" was officially removed, and a 3-year cooling off period began.
Now the new logo search has begun. And although we're disappointed the Wooly Mammoths won't be a competing team from our beloved region, there is a certain football team in our nation's capital that may not want to miss an opportunity here.