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On this page you will find information on the story, history and news of the Fighting Sioux Logo. 


The University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux logo was designed by Bennett Brien, a noted American Indian artist and sculptor. Brien, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from UND, describes the symbolism of the UND athletic mark as follows:
"The feathers symbolize the outstanding rewards that students, faculty, staff and alumni will achieve for academic, athletic and lifelong excellence. The determined look in the eyes symbolizes fortitude and never giving up and the focus necessary for sustained academic, athletics and lifelong achievement. The paint on the cheekbone symbolizes that life can be a battle and we have daily struggles. The color green symbolizes the development of young people and their growth at the University of North Dakota. The color yellow symbolizes the sun which provides humanity light and warmth in order that life may continue. The color red symbolizes the lifeblood that has been poured out to make our state and peoples great."


The University of North Dakota “Sioux” nickname made its debut more than 74 years ago, in the autumn of 1930. The “Sioux” nickname became the staple of the University of North Dakota officially on October 2, 1930. In the Friday, October 3, 1930, edition of the Dakota Student, UND’s student newspaper, featured a front-page banner headline, “Sioux’ Replaces ‘Flickertail’ as Caption of University Sport Teams.” An article in that issue reported, “At convocation yesterday morning (which would have been October 2, 1930), the official announcement was made that the Athletic Board of Control had conducted the rites of changing the name and had given their sanction to the abolition of Flickertail and to the enactment of the Sioux.”

The name was chosen because the area of the Dakotas was once part of the Sioux Nation. UND was founded in 1883 in the Dakota Territory, six years before North Dakota became a state. The Sioux were born brave warriors. Their name connotes courage, honor, overcoming adversity, pride, and victory.

The “Fighting” reference was instigated in the mid-1960s by then UND Sports Information Director Lee Bohnet.

The “Fighting Sioux” has been represented graphically in a variety of different ways, but nothing stable seemed to come into use until the late 1960s when the Chicago Blackhawk logo was adopted, primarily for hockey. What is termed the “geometric” logo was introduced in 1976 and was applied to most athletic activities. UND’s use of the Blackhawk logo was discontinued in 1993.

The new Indian head logo, designed by UND Alumnus and Native American artist Bennet Brien, went into use with the advent of the 2001-2002 athletic season. The 2001-2002 athletics season was also the inaugural season of the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The University of North Dakota is the home of the Fighting Sioux.  UND officially adopted the name of the Fighting Sioux in the 1930’s because the Sioux Warriors were the most courageous of all warriors.  The great Sioux Nation epitomized honor, courage, pride, overcoming adversity and winning battles.  All fans in Ralph Engelstad Arena are asked to cheer your team to victory and exhibit good sportsmanship, as well as respect the American Indians and their proud and honored culture and heritage.

The State Board of Education has now voted to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.  As the university moves forward the following timeline has been set for the sale of Sioux merchandise.

The University of North Dakota, working in conjunction with Licensing Resource Group, has developed a timeline for retiring the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo on merchandise.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has instructed UND to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo by August 15, 2011 with the understanding that the University must continue to protect its trademarks.

With that in mind, the University, with the assistance of LRG, is providing its licensees with a timeline to inform manufacturers and retailers of clear guidelines with respect to the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

May 2010:
Announcement made to all UND licensed manufacturers and identified retailers. Announcement includes press release, bulleted summary of decision and next steps, and a detailed timeline of events and instructions on use/production.

July 1, 2010:
The Fighting Sioux logo and nickname will be removed from the Trademarx artwork website.

Licensees who currently hold a “Sioux Head” license in addition to their standard UND license will be renewed for one year. There will be no new “Sioux Head” licenses issued after July 1, 2010.

October 1, 2010:
No new designs bearing the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname will be approved from this date forward.*

May 1, 2011:
A reminder to licensees from LRG reminding them that all Fighting Sioux merchandise must be sold off retail floors by June 30, 2011.

June 30, 2011:
Last day to sell merchandise bearing the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname at retail.

Announcement to licensees and retailers stating that they are required to discontinue any use of the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname (unless authorized by the University). Continued use without explicit written permission from the University will be grounds for termination of their UND license. All “Sioux Head” licenses expire on June 30, 2011, and will not be renewed.

July 1-15, 2011:
LRG will visit retailers to ensure no Fighting Sioux merchandise is being sold at retail.

July 1, 2011 and beyond:
LRG will continue to monitor the marketplace to ensure no Fighting Sioux merchandise is being sold at retail.

Use of the Fighting Sioux logo or nickname after June 30, 2011

In order to capitalize on special events, milestones, and historic opportunities, the University does intend to protect the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname, and will authorize its ongoing use as deemed appropriate by the situation and University officials. The University will reserve the right to limit the use to select licensees, retailers, and suppliers.

*If UND hockey or any other winter/spring sport wins a national championship during the 2010-11 sports season, the University has a policy allowing “new” national championship designs to be considered until June 30, 2011. The last date of sale of national championship/commemorative merchandise could be extended beyond the June 30, 2011 deadline as determined by the University.

"May the logo and the Fighting Sioux name live on forever!"
Ralph Engelstad - October 5, 2001

It is great sadness that this statement will not hold true!
"You can take away the name but you can't take away the spirit"
Allen Orwick - September 12, 2010