For years, college and pro sports teams have taken heat for caricaturing Native Americans with their nicknames and mascots. Sometimes, teams do the right thing. In 1994, for example, St. John's University changed its name from the Redmen to the Red Storm. At other times, they've acted irresponsibly. We still have the Washington Redskins, and the Cleveland Indians haven't scrubbed Chief Wahoo -- a cartoonish representation of Native Americans -- off their hats. And in other instances, a tribe's backing has allowed a team to keep its nickname, as happened with the Florida State Seminoles and Utah Utes.
And then there's the puzzling, quite unique case of North Dakota.
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