FORT TOTTEN, N.D. -- Is the Fighting Sioux moniker cursed? Is it the reason why the UND men's hockey team hasn't won a national title in their past six trips to the Frozen Four?
And has the curse reached out and affected others who have dealt with the controversial name?
The Curse of the Bambino was said to have begun after the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth, aka "the Bambino," to the Yankees in the off-season of 1919-20.
Before that point, the Red Sox had been one of the most successful professional baseball franchises, winning the first World Series and amassing five World Series titles thereafter.
After the sale, they went without a title for decades, while the previously lackluster Yankees became one of the most successful franchises in professional sports.
Similarly, the Fighting Sioux Curse began in 2001, when the Ralph Engelstad Arena was built and REA officials refused to let protesters against the nickname step onto arena property.
Before 2001, the UND hockey team won national championships in more than half of the past 13 Frozen Four tournaments in which they'd competed. Since 2001, Sioux men's hockey teams have competed in six Frozen Four tournaments and won no national championships.
Unfortunately, the Fighting Sioux Curse is not restricted to the UND men's hockey team. In 2007, the State Board of Higher Education entered into a three-year agreement with the NCAA. The curse then spread to the reservations of North Dakota (Standing Rock and Spirit Lake, primarily).
And we tribal members of these two reservations began to argue with each other and with anyone who disagreed with us.
The curse then moved to the Capitol in Bismarck. A recent Bismarck Tribune story, "Assessing the logo fallout on Dalrymple and Wayne Stenehjem," was anything but flattering about the state's two top officials.
Instead of portraying them as strong leaders in dealing with the constitutionality of HB1263, the story offered the sense that Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem were worried more about their political futures than about making honest and courageous decisions.
Curses usually treat those individuals who think they can outsmart or overcome the curse more severely than those who accept the curse. The first who tried to out think this curse was UND men's hockey coach Dave Hakstol.
Although it was against university policy, Hakstol helped organize a massive email campaign to influence the North Dakota Senate.
Alas, his team -- which was thought to be the best in a long time and certainly the best of the other three teams in the Frozen Four -- couldn't escape the curse and was defeated quite handily in its first match.
"They seem to be playing under water" was one comment used to describe the team's effort.
The second person who has learned that outwitting a curse is not easy was Rep. Al Carlson, majority leader of the North Dakota House. Getting the Fighting Sioux nickname passed into state law was to be Al's defining moment, perhaps propelling him into either the governor's office or the U.S. Congress. Instead, it is turning out to be his worst nightmare now that NCAA refused to meet with state officials.
The look on his face when he was told that NCAA was not going to show up at the meeting must have been priceless. It seems the words on the T-shirt that is hanging in his office -- "Fighting Sioux: It's the law" -- may be premature. The final wording may be "NCAA: Truth is not dictated by N.D. state law."
Do I believe in the curse? No, at least not in the way non-Indians believe in curses. I do believe in our Dakota spirituality, in which we believe lying is evil and will harm everyone associated with the lie if it is allowed to continue.
The use of the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname is based on a huge falsehood that is called honoring. This falsehood is the primary reason why the use of Fighting Sioux always will be cursed.
It never was intended to honor. It was intended to intensify rivalries, conjure up the "good old days" of cowboys and Indians and sell tickets.