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UND nickname referendum still on at Spirit Lake Reservation

Opponents of UND's Fighting Sioux nickname in the Spirit Lake Tribe were unable to convince a judge to halt the nickname referendum scheduled for Tuesday.

Terry Morgan, one of the opponents, said he had found more than 85 fraudulent signatures on the petition that led to the referendum. But, he said, the judge decided that the allegation doesn't matter because the Tribal Council had voted in March to put the referendum on the ballot.

Judge El Marie Conklin from the Three Affiliated Tribes was called in because Spirit Lake's two judges felt they had a conflict because they or their relatives are involved in the nickname dispute, according to Morgan.

Asked if nickname opponents would ask the four Tribal Council members to reconsider their decision, Morgan said "It's too late in the ball game."

"Maybe that would be too much pressure to put on them," he said.

Nickname opponents will instead continue vigorous efforts to persuade voters, holding two meetings this weekend, at noon Saturday in the Woodlake District and at 5 p.m. Sunday in the St. Michael.