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Sioux nickname fans to gather

GRAND FORKS - Fans of University of North Dakota athletics unhappy about Thursday's decision by the State Board of Higher Education to retire the college's Fighting Sioux logo and nickname plan a rally and "fan photo" today at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Alerts about the 3 p.m. gathering -- by the Sioux warrior statue on the arena grounds -- have been spread this morning through Facebook pages, including one titled Sioux Gear Friday, and other social media.

The rally call has been aided by group e-mails sent out by Sioux fans in distant places.

"I heard about it from someone in Minneapolis who is a Sioux fan," said Stephanie Gregoire, a 1986 UND graduate and insurance agent in Eden Prairie, Minn. "We often wear Sioux Jerseys and get together here for UND things, like the hockey games with Minnesota.

"I'm disappointed, but I could see it coming," she said of the board's decision. "I thought the Sioux did such a great job at the beginning of games showing that they were using it in admiration, trying to emulate good parts of that culture."

Via e-mail, Gregoire circulated this message this morning to friends and family members who share her affection for the nickname:

"We have a professional(ish) photographer lined up ... to take a picture in front of the Ralph right by the Sioux warrior statue. ... Please come decked out in any type of Sioux gear you have. ... Get creative, (but) must be appropriate! If there are any inappropriate items or articles of clothing, we will cancel the photograph. Please don't let that happen! This has the potential to be great."

- Haga is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.