A new documentary to be released this week looks deep into the seven-year battle over the name change of University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux.
After a lengthy fight between the university and the NCAA, North Dakota voters ultimately voted to retire the name back in 2012.
Since then, Bismarck native Matt Fern has been working on his first feature-length film, Fighting Over Sioux.
Fern said he wants the movie to tell the story behind the controversy, but also of the misconceptions and disconnect between Native American and non-Native American communities in the state.
He says everyone can learn something from it. One of the most interesting things he says he learned was about the man who drew the Sioux logo.
“He also is a Chippewa, which was a traditional enemy of the Lakota and Dakota people,” said Fern. “Also just the word ‘Sioux’ is a French word for snake and that was given to the Lakota and Dakota people from the Chippewa. So that and so much more, I was surprised.”
Fern said he hopes the documentary will spark dialogue for viewers and spearhead a platform for North Dakota filmmakers.
His goal is to be able to tell more North Dakota stories and distribute them in a similar way.
“I am excited, yeah, I am,” he said. “I’m exhausted but excited. I’ve been working on this for seven years so I’m really excited to get it out into the world.”
Fighting Over Sioux will be released this Wednesday, Nov. 25, in eight North Dakota movie theaters.
Click here to see what theaters or how you can watch it at home.