The Sioux nickname issue remains unsettled. How long can it be dragged out?
There is always a new twist and turn. They way it is going, with threats of lawsuits and countersuits, it could even end up in the Supreme Court, the one in Washington, not just the one in Bismarck.
Good grief already.
With all the back and forth, there is one argument we've heard far too little of: "Retiring the name is the right thing to do."
It is. If something offends a group of people, why go on offending them? That was Dexter Manley's take on the name of the NFL team he played for, the Washington Redskins. If the name offends, change it, he said.
But that would be too simple and direct. And it would probably require us to become better informed and to widen our cultural perspectives, to listen before opining and certainly before voting.
And those whose voices we should be listening to have received little media exposure: UND American Indian students and faculty, and the Department of Indian Studies.
This is a university, a place of learning, after all. And if the nickname issue is nothing else, it is a teaching moment. Let the university teach, teach us all.
Locally, Minot State University has done some instructing on this, with conferences open to the public, presenting data on the negative effects of using the name and image of a minority culture for a trivial purpose within the dominant culture.
In a recent conference one American Indian speaker reminded us that the term Sioux is hardly an honorable name. It comes from the Chippewa word for snake and from the French pronunciation and spelling of that word.
The Chippewa, an enemy of the Lakota, did not use the word snake to praise the Lakota.
Such information is one example of how there is much more to the name change issue than the NCAA's mandate. Prior to the mandate many schools had already retired American Indian nicknames.
Over 1,000 schools nationwide have done so, with Stanford University perhaps the first in 1972, when they went from Indians to Cardinal.
Not just colleges have used these teaching moments to retire nicknames. Grade schools, middle schools and high schools have, too.
But we have taken the issue way off campus and, who knows, may eventually take it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Let's not do this. Let's instead use UND for what it is, an institution of higher education that can instruct us voters regardless of how long we have been out of school.
(James Lein is a community columnist for The Minot Daily News)