Petition forms filed on nicknamePeople opposed to retirement of University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo filed petition forms and sponsor lists with the secretary of state Friday for a referendum and an initiated measure.
By: By Chuck Haga, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
People opposed to retirement of University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname and logo filed petition forms and sponsor lists with the secretary of state Friday for a referendum and an initiated measure.
The action, which was expected, sets in motion a timeline for the committees to secure the necessary signatures and file their petitions to have a referendum question on the June primary election ballot and an initiated measure on the November general election ballot.
The “repeal the repeal” referendum would seek to overturn action by the recent special legislative session, during which lawmakers voted to repeal a law adopted earlier this year requiring UND to continue using the nickname and logo.
The initiated measure would propose a constitutional amendment to secure the nickname and logo in state law.
A referral will require the filing of petitions containing 13,462 signatures by Feb. 7, according to a timeline provided by Secretary of State Al Jaeger.
A constitutional amendment will require the filing of petitions containing 26,904 signatures by March 14, if for the primary election, or by Aug. 8, for the general election.
Nickname supporters have said they intend to push both petition drives simultaneously, with the general election option for a constitutional amendment allowing more time for collection of signatures.
Jaeger’s office must complete a review of the petition forms by Dec. 13.
Reed Soderstrom, a Minot attorney representing the Spirit Lake Nation’s pro-nickname Committee for Understanding and Respect, is listed as chairman of both sponsoring committees.
Each petition was signed by about 50 sponsors, including longtime nickname champions Archie Fool Bear and Antoine American Horse Jr. of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and Eunice Davidson and John Chaske of the Spirit Lake Nation.
The Spirit Lake committee plans to seek volunteers statewide to circulate the petitions once their form has been approved. Signers must be at least 18 years old, have lived in North Dakota at least 30 days and be U.S. citizens.
UND has started a transition away from the historic nickname and related logos and plans to have that substantially completed by the end of December, as directed by the State Board of Higher Education.
Chuck Haga is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.