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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Ireland Sues Fighting Irish over Hostile and Abusive Name after Notre Dame’s Bowl Victory

Florida State University and the Seminole Tribe (

The Fighting Irish triumphed over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl on Saturday, December 28, 2019. However instead of being able to exult in their victory, the Fighting Irish were hit by a lawsuit from Ireland. The constant reference to the Fighting Irish was more than Ireland could handle anymore. The demeaning and disrespectful name is a slight on the Irish people. Ireland called on the Fighting Irish to cease and desist the use of the term effective immediately.

Norway quickly followed the example of Ireland. It has had it with the all that Viking hoopla and hollering with those head horns. It mocks the Viking people and tradition and has no place in the civilized world. Therefore Norway has sued the Minnesota Vikings calling on them to cease and desist the use of the name and use of all related faux Viking paraphernalia effective immediately.

The Sioux Indians have sued the University of North Dakota for the hostile and abusive representation of them in the use of the mascot and logo the “Fighting Sioux.” The term is demeaning and disrespectful and is a slight on the Sioux people. The Sioux have sued the University calling them to cease and desist the use of the term effective immediately.

The Netherlands has decided to follow suit and sue the New York Knickerbockers. The suit is based not on a logo but on the quality of play. It was triggered by a sports article on the 2010s entitled “The N.B.A. During the 2010s: The Good, the Bad and the Knicks.” In the article, the Knicks were called the “underachievers of the decade.” The Netherlands is sick and tired of being associated with a pitiful loser.

Boeing has joined in with a suit against the New York Jets. It is bad enough for Boeing to have to deal with crash landings that have grounded a jet. It does not want to be associated with a perennial loser team named the Jets.

There is still no word from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the United Steelworkers about possible lawsuits against the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Katonah-Lewisboro school district in Westchester County (NY) has voted to drop the Indian mascot from the John Jay High School sports teams. Since the hamlet was named after Lenape Chief Katonah, it will change all Katonah-based names as part of its purification process to atone for its sins. Meanwhile the John Jay Homestead, the New York State site located in the Town of Bedford which includes the hamlet of Katonah, is considering a suit of its own. How exactly does having a high school name after Founding Father John Jay really honor him?

Which of the above examples are actual events? Which of the above examples are future events that have not yet happened? Which did I just make up as Fake News? Is it possible for intelligence and common sense to prevail in the culture wars especially once the Thought Police has been unleashed?

Yes, it is still possible for intelligence and common sense to prevail but that is the exception and not the rule. Before resuming the series on Columbus Day versus Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the culture wars that will tear America apart during this presidential election year, let’s examine one example that shows that e pluribus unum is still possible in the United States despite all the efforts to shred the social fabric.

Seminole Tribe and Florida State University

A Tradition of Tribute (excerpts from FSU’s website)

The Seminole Tribe of Florida are a courageous, tenacious and determined people who, against great odds, have struggled successfully to preserve their culture and to live their lives according to their traditions and beliefs. As history shows, they are a people who have resolutely refused to accept defeat, whether at the hands of the U.S. military or when faced with the unforgiving wilderness of the Florida Everglades.

For nearly seven decades, Florida State University has proudly identified itself with this heroic tribe. The name “Florida State Seminoles” was selected by vote of the university’s student body in 1947…The name was selected specifically to honor the indomitable spirit of the Florida Seminoles — those people whom the Seminole Tribe of Florida refers to as the “few hundred unconquered Seminole men, women and children left — all hiding in the swamps and Everglades of South Florida.” FSU’s use of the name honors the strength and bravery of these people, who never surrendered and ultimately persevered.

In recent years, critics have complained that the use of all Native American names and symbols — by FSU and other universities, as well as by professional athletic teams — is “culturally hostile” or “offensive.” Unfortunately, in some cases such names and symbols have in fact been misused and become derogatory. At FSU, however, we have worked diligently for 40 years to ensure that our representations of Seminole imagery bring only honor to the Seminole people.

During this time, FSU experienced a learning curve. It learned that the Hollywood image of Indians was at odds with the actual way Indians lived and had lived during the European settlement and expansion in America. It learned that not all Indian tribes were alike just as ethnic peoples from Europe varied. It learned that the way FSU portrayed the Seminoles was not consistent with the way the Seminoles lived. It learned that it did not know Seminole history. It also learned that it did not have to knuckle under to the Politically Correct Thought Police, that it could stand up for itself, and it could grow in its understanding of the Seminole people.

An Improved Understanding

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, FSU’s campus became a learning ground with regard to the Florida Seminole Indians. Several key people were directly responsible for the new awareness. Joyotpaul “Joy” Chaudhuri, an American Indian expert and FSU professor of political science, and his wife, Jean, an American Indian activist, came to the university during this period. They helped establish an American Indian Fellowship at FSU. This influential group led the campus and the community toward a better understanding of Native Americans in general and the Florida Seminoles in particular. The group was instrumental in mediating between the university and the Florida Seminole Indians. There were several meetings between the two, and problems were addressed to the satisfaction of both. As a result, FSU retired certain images that were offensive to the tribe, and began consulting with the tribe regularly on all such matters.

By the late 1970s, FSU’s campus, like the rest of country, had become more educated about Indians in general and the Florida Seminoles in particular. Along with this new understanding came major changes in the university’s mascots. It became very important to portray the university’s namesake with dignity and honor, and to do it with the graces of the Florida Seminole tribe. This attitude culminated in a mutual respect between the two institutions, and further tied their futures to one another.

Osceola and Renegade

In 1978, FSU embarked upon a new tradition — one that had the full endorsement of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. A Seminole warrior riding a horse, to become known as Osceola and Renegade, was introduced at FSU home football games, and soon became one of the most enduring and beloved symbols of the university.

For more than 30 years, FSU has worked closely with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to ensure the dignity and propriety of the various Seminole symbols used by the university. The university’s goal is to be a model community that treats all cultures with dignity while celebrating diversity.

Imagine how much better off the United States would be if the experience of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Florida State University was the basis of “come let us reason together” relationships than the divisiveness of the Trumpican and Politically Correct rhetoric. That’s another one of my prayers for America.

13 thoughts on “Ireland Sues Fighting Irish over Hostile and Abusive Name after Notre Dame’s Bowl Victory

  1. Of course in our lifetime, St John’s U. was remanded from the “Redmen” to the “Red Storm”. The case against the Washington “Redskins” is still pending …..

    1. Thanks for writing. Feedback is important. As you know there is no such lawsuit by Ireland against Notre Dame while the Sioux did successfully challenge the use of the “Fighting Sioux” mascot. The contrast in treatment certainly is remarkable and real.

      I am surprised over your dismissal of the win-win solution developed by the Seminole People and Florida State University. I would have thought an organization such as yours would have applauded such an arrangement. I see I am in error. Thanks for clarifying that for me.

  2. Iona has always the same logo of the belligerent inebriated Irishman. I suppose it lacks sufficient international visibility to deserve oppobrium.

    I wonder why nobody called for Yonkers to be renamed during WW1, as its origin is in the Dutch equivalent of the German Junkers. BTW, I’ve come across some folk whose pronunciation IS “junkers”.

    I also wonder how many people know that the Earl of Scarsdale was Groom of the Stool to Prince George of Denmark, consort of the later Queen Anne. The position was established by Henry VIII, when it became impossible for him to wipe his own posterior. The Groom was required to perform that function and was responsible for the port-a-potty that went wherever the king went. Lesser royals came to possess servants with the same title.

  3. The teaser opening paragraph about Ireland’s suing ND contained no journalistic specificity or evidence and was pretty ridiculous.

    1. The reason for the lack of journalistic specificity about the Ireland lawsuit is because there is no such lawsuit. That teaser is supposed to be ridiculous and in contrast the the example of the Sioux who did successfully complain about the “Fighting Sioux.” The contrast between the two uses of “fighting” is remarkable.

  4. I think the Seminoles never made a peace treaty with the USA. I do not know if a cease fire or armistice was ever made. I think Jackson fought in the Seminole war. Was Geronimo exiled to the Seminole People? When I was a little boy in Lake Arial PA each summer Seminoles would camp as”atractions” at the amusement park. They lived in palm frond huts, spoke their language, sold carved coconuts, tended alligators in a little pool they dug. A white man would wade into the pool, wrestle and subdue a big gator, pull it out of the water,stroke
    its belly and put it to sleep. We kids did not play with the Indians…their mothers kept tight herd, spoke only their language and they could not mix with the “Goyim.”The spirit of Osciola lives!!!! David Mack.
    The light house at upiter FL. is built on an Indian mound. I do not know if is Seminole. I think Lt or Maj George Meade built it

  5. I didn’t know it was April Fools Day yet.
    Do you know Notre Dame and Navy are scheduled to go to Dublin this August? Plenty of time to cancel the trip and lose out on a lot of tourism dollars.

    1. Thanks for the fascinating piece of information about Notre Dame going to Ireland this year. I presume Ireland already is aware of the Notre Dame logo and nick name but to experience it in person is another matter. But although the part about Ireland’s suit was made up, the example of the Sioux was not. It is an interesting contrast of the same word being acceptable in one case and not in the other.

  6. Call me “politically correct”, but I wholeheartedly support Ireland and Norway’s distress over the poaching and mis-use of their heritage in the service of fanbases. And, it is long overdue that American sports franchises abandon any reference or linkage to American Indian tribes, particularly in respect of their supposed ferocity or courage or fighting skills!

    1. Hi Gregg,

      To clarify, neither Ireland nor Norway have expressed such distress that I am aware of. The Sioux have successfully complained about the use of the “Fighting Sioux. The Seminoles and FSU seemed to have worked out a win-win solution that honors the Seminoles while providing a mascot. The Katonah school system had a similar opportunity to enter into a partnership with the Lenape especially with the figure of Chief Nimham who died fighting with the Americans against the British in what was then part of Westchester County. Cowboys and Steelers don’t mind that that images are used and Saints and Angels seem to be OK as well. For that matter there are numerous tribal colleges and universities and they often have Indian-based logos and mascots. My recommendation is each tribe and team work it out as FSU and the Seminoles did.
      Thanks for writing.


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