The North Dakota University dropped the mascot name of “Fighting Sioux” in 2012, following a long and contentious debate about its offensive nature. Next up are changes to North Dakota highway signs, which features the silhouette of a Native leader in headdress.
According to a blog called “The First Scout“:
In 1923, Red Tomahawk’s profile was chosen to mark all North Dakota state highways. It is displayed to show all travelers that a friendly Lakota was safely guiding them.
Who is this friendly Lakota, Red Tomahawk? He is best known as one of the Standing Rock police that shot and killed Sitting Bull.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation faced complaints and threats of lawsuits over the signage, according to a recent MPR story. Plans are moving forward to have new signs replace the Indian silhouette with the outline of the state of North Dakota. It will take 10 years to replace all the signs.
The Department of Transportation says the possible legal action had nothing to do with its decision to change the signs. According to the story, “the change was done to pay tribute to the agency’s 100th birthday next year and get in step with other states’ signage.”
Whether or not that is the real reason for the change, the change is a good one.