Nokota: State horse would make ideal nickname

The University of North Dakota might soon need to replace the venerable Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. Why not use the official state horse, the Nokota, as the basis for a new nickname and logo? UND could become the Wild Nokotas or the Fighting Nokotas (or whatever adjective is appropriate).

Here are the reasons I believe the Nokota would make an outstanding new nickname for UND:

  1. The Nokota is an athletic horse known for its intelligence, independence, strength, stamina and ability to survive in harsh conditions. Therefore, the Nokota is the ideal symbol for a North Dakota-based athletic team.
  2. The name “Nokota” is a combination of the words “North” and “Dakota,” the name of the state and the university.
  3. The Nokota horse is unique to North Dakota. It’s not likely that any other university would use or adopt this name.
  4. The Nokota horse is indelibly linked to the state’s history, especially to some of the territory’s earliest and most famous inhabitants.
  5. The Nokota is already officially recognized as North Dakota’s state horse. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for the state’s flagship university to adopt the Nokota as the symbol of its athletic teams.
  6. Representing the people of North Dakota, the Nokota is a symbol in which everyone can take pride.
  7. The potential to develop a strong, striking logo and marketing themes based on the Nokota are nearly limitless.
  8. It’s likely that if UND changes its nickname, the vestiges of the old Fighting Sioux logo will remain in Ralph Engelstad Arena. A Nokota logo would not look incongruous next to the Fighting Sioux logo.

I encourage Sioux fans to visit the Nokota Horse Conservancy website to read about the Nokota breed and learn more about the efforts to preserve it. Any increased public exposure the Nokota receives could help raise awareness and assist in the effort to preserve an important part of North Dakota’s past.

UND’s hockey team is known nationwide and its other athletic teams will soon be competing on a national stage in NCAA Division I athletics. By adopting the Nokota horse as a nickname and logo, UND would get a terrific new identity and the efforts to preserve the Nokota horse would receive a boost.

11 thoughts on “Nokota: State horse would make ideal nickname”

  1. Not a bad idea – I like the tie to the state. Something like Roughriders might be appropriate for the same reason. Cavalry also seems like a good choice, as it’s also seemingly benign, and is quite the opposite from the Sioux name that the tribes seem to find so objectionable.

  2. johndahl,
    Both Roughrider and cavalry are reminders of the imperial forces that committed genocide on the native peoples of this region. Teddy R. was the prime example of an imperial presidency. If I were native I would be insulted to have those terms juxtaposed with the word Dakota.

    No nickname allows the UND teams to be referred to as North Dakota and the “North Dakotas” simultaneously. The plural noun “Dakotas” seems to be an appropriate nickname and also doesn’t clash at all with the emblems in the Ralph. It’s already the state name so how can the NCAA protest.

  3. spearman,

    If UND chooses to go with no nickname, I suspect that people will start calling the university’s athletic teams the “NoDaks.” Sportswriters and sportscasters will assign a name to UND’s athletic teams if we don’t adopt one ourselves. Maybe “NoDaks” isn’t objectionable, but I’d much prefer that if a label is put on our athletes, it’s one of our own choosing.

  4. When I first heard of “Nokota” as a possible nickname, I didn’t like it, but it is starting to grow on me. I think this quote, “The Nokota is an athletic horse known for its intelligence, independence, strength, stamina and ability to survive in harsh conditions.” is a perfect reason to use the nickname. I also read in the Herald today that the name “Nokota” is not tied to anything Native American, which is good for the sole purpose of there not being any controversy surrounding the name. I’d really like to avoid any more controversy with our nickname as I am sick and tired of it.
    I do agree with spearman that Roughriders (being it is already used by Red River HS) and Cavalry wouldn’t be a good idea. I personally think it would be inappropriate and a bit of a slap in the face.

  5. When I hear or read things like this.

    “When Both Roughrider and cavalry are reminders of the imperial forces that committed genocide on the native peoples of this region. Teddy R. was the prime example of an imperial presidency.”

    I think that is what is wrong with this country! We already dont keep score at little leage games because we dont want to hurt anyones feelings. Get used to it everyone!! Life is hard you will get sand kicked in your face at some time you will have to pick you self off the dirt. It is great american leaders like Teddy R that taught us to do that. If we worried a little less about some name that offended a group of people and woked on fixing things that were wrong with this country it might be a better place.

    The NCAA should maybe work on fixing all the other things wrong with collage sports before they desroy a wonderful mascot!

  6. Nokotas sounds too redundant much as “The University of North Dakota North Stars.” I like the horse mascot idea (I love the Denver Broncos mascot) but the Nokota name just sounds too redundant.

  7. I cant believe we have to go along with this nickname change. I feel bad that we cant fight this! We just have to watch it go and have a empty part of us. Every time i think of it i have a knot in my stomach! It pisses me off! If anything Lets become the “Dakota’s” and keep the beautiful Logo.

  8. A well-reasoned position on a damned good idea.

    Best one that I have heard to date, by far. This said, I ain’t given up hope that the tribal elders will give the boot to the tribal leaders and common sense will prevail over the efforts of the largely unemployed zealot rabblerousers.

    If common sense does not prevail, I am all in, at least for now, on the Nakota name.

  9. If anyone is looking for a tie to the state of North Dakota, think about our most abundant crop. Then consider the old nickname WheatKings?

  10. I originally thought there wouldn’t be a logo or nickname that I could agree with, but I like Fighting Nokotas. As time goes by I am liking it more and more. Having said that, let’s be sure that we cover all bases with the tribes before giving up on the current name. And, by the way, forget Wheatkings as wheat ceased to be ND’s most abundant crop in 2007. Corn is now king, thanks to ethanol. There also used to be team in the area called Wheatkings.

  11. I don’t live in North Dakota but I am a fan of the hockey team. Using the Nakota horse as the logo seems like a perfect compromise; it honors the athletes and also pays tribute to the Native Americans whose horsemanship is well documented.

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