I saw this on the news and I know there's a few U of I people here so I thought I'd post this here and wonder what your reaction to the decision is:
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- The student who had just performed Chief Illiniwek's last dance stood in a tunnel just off the basketball court, still in costume and grimacing to fight back tears.
After 20 years of pressure from activists who found the University of Illinois mascot offensive, the school did away with Illiniwek and his antics. Dan Maloney, a graduate student who portrays the controversial American Indian mascot, performed for the final time in front of students and fans at a men's basketball game Wednesday night.
"If this is the last time -- and I stress if," Maloney said. "I couldn't think of a better way for it to end."
The school's decision led the NCAA to lift sanctions that had barred Illinois from hosting postseason sports since 2005. The NCAA had deemed Illiniwek -- portrayed since 1926 by students who cavorted at home football and basketball games in buckskin regalia -- an offensive use of American Indian imagery.
But in the eyes of orange-clad students who waited outside Assembly Hall in chilly weather for hours ahead of the game, the decision robbed the school of a piece of its history.
Jonathan Bluenke, a junior from Crystal Lake, said Chief Illiniwek will be missed most at football games, where Illini fans haven't had much to cheer about the past few years.
"If we were down by like 30, people stuck around for the chief," Bluenke said. "Honestly, that's like what you hear in the stands."
One activist who worked to convince the university to get rid of the chief questioned whether a mascot was integral to the experience.
"Does having a mascot or having a flag, does it change the devotion to the team?" asked John McKinn, a Maricopa Indian who is assistant director of academic programming for the school's Native American studies program. "I don't see why it would."
Under the plan announced last week, the university still will be able to use the name Illini, because it's short for Illinois, and the nickname Fighting Illini, because it's considered a reference to the team's competitive spirit, school officials said.
Neither of those ideas sit well with McKinn and others who opposed the chief. They say they want the university to end the use of the names.
The university hasn't said yet whether it will replace the chief with another mascot. Board of trustees Chairman Lawrence Eppley said last week that was a possibility, but said the impetus wouldn't come from the board.
On Wednesday night, few fans seemed interested in a replacement.
As Chief Illiniwek took the floor for the last time, a video montage of chiefs past played on video screens above the court. After the halftime dance, hundreds of students and others in the normally orange-filled arena shed their shirts to reveal black T-shirts worn underneath, mourning the loss of the chief.
"To me the chief is spirit," said Paul Bruns, a retiree who worked for the university for 38 years. "Why did (American Indians) dance? They danced for spirit."
It's sad when tradition is tossed by the wayside for fear of offending people.
I'll post more on this later, but please take a minute to read and sign this online petition for The Chief.
The link is in there.
Also, please take a look at the tribute video.
Just another sad sign of the times.Giving in to the PC crowd. Both my kids graduated from there as did their spouses. They all didn't want this to happen.
I don't agree with the removal of indian portrayal. I went to a community college, Black Hawk College - and you don't see them changing the name. I go to Bradley Univerisy now, and they have to change the "Braves" name. U of I is now changing their theme.
Now I can see if they were scalping dummies of the opposing team, or ruining the Icon of indian images, but they were giving it glory. They were honoring them.
What are we as a community to do? Quit using the names because it hurts peoples feelings. Ok then. Lets change the names and images of EVERYTHING that has anything to do with Native Americans. Let's start erasing the images, names, and likenesses of all things "Native" Would this cater to the needs of the masses, or would this all of a sudden become an act of cruelty and neglect?
The name is Braves - not Red Men, not some derrogatory statement, not some cruel likeness or image. It is a name of which relates to bravery, honor, devotion, and respect.
This ranks up there with some of the stupidest things I can think of.
If this offends anyone out there, my apologies, but come on!! This is insane.
I think every fan in the home seats should wear a head dress to EVERY GAME. Don't let the spirit die because some PC moron had to ruin it for everybody.
I'm going to put feathers pointing out of my hat for the Bradley games when I go.
Yeah, I decided to go back to school after being out of High School for over 11 years. Trying to get that degree in Mechanical Engineering, and it's pretty rough. Bradley is a pretty demanding school.
I was thinking, the name Illinois is a Native American name isn't it? We should rename it too - don't watn to insult any of the PC people now do we.
This subject is pretty sore to me if you can't tell.
The irony also is, I'm enrolled in a Native American history class this semester. This class is so close to pissing me off to the point of quitting and taking another class it isn't funny. I had to sit in my last class and hear for 20 straight minutes about how the injustices of the indiginous (natives) people and tribes, and the trageties of the slave trade, demands compensation for the wrongdoings today. The oddest part is that the teacher is white.
I'm not racist, and please don't assume I am, but that is the biggest crock of $#@$ I have heard in a while. I'm not saying that slavery and slaughter of the natives was in any way acceptable, it's actually a part of our past that is painful to think about...but DO NOT try to force such dogmatic views onto me for something that I had no part of. I'm responsible for the actions I do, and I do alone. I'm not responsible for my great, great, great, great, great, grandfathers actions or wrongdoings - therefore, I'm not compensating crap. If I drink and drive, and slam into a family of 6 on vacation - you better bet I'm responsible for that. Because Jim-bob the slave driver sold Kunta off a boat from Africa in the late 1700s doesn't mean his decendant is entitled to any sort of compensation. Like I said, it's a sore part of this countries past - but it is the past. Look forward while remembering, but keep looking forward.
Besides, wasn't it the Muslims in Africa betraying their own people and perpetuating the slave trade by selling them to the slave ships of past??
This PC BS is brought on by people that have nothing to do but find somehting to bitch about.
Like I said, it's insane.
Most of my wife's family went to the U of I, and I have to say, there must be something in the water in Cham-Urb 'cuz they are the biggest bunch of brainwashed people I have ever met. Everything is U of I U of I U of I.
The Chief, bleh, who cares.
First of all, I didn't go there so I really don't have a dog in this fight, but I couldn't care less about the Chief.
While I don't find him offensive, I also must say as a white male you are pretty much at the top of the food chain when it comes to this kind of stuff.
My alma mater is the Sycamores. A nice tree. If they cut it down in favor of something else, I would not care one iota.
The one I really loved was the dopey college chick who said that losing the Chief was "just like losing a family member". Yeah, Suzie, it is JUST LIKE THAT!!!
Perspective is something best gained with time and distance. Step away from the Kool-Aid.
ETA>>>> Awww, hell, what a waste of a perfectly good post number. Fixed it.
I'm a UofI alum and all I can say to all of this is;
I was never much of one for "school spirit". I was there to learn.
The new mascot should be red and white for the U.S. Calvary.
The Calvary help subdue the Indians and reach Our Manifest Destiny.
After all, didn't the Indians steal the land from BigFoot
To some degree, I see your point, but from another perspective, I totally disagree.
My wife, one of her brothers, two of my sisters, myself and many friends went to U of I. While I was there, I was pretty much into the school spirit stuff. I have my share of illini gear (I played for the lacrosse team). But it's been 10 years since I graduated. So I don't really have as much passion about the issue as the younger ones. So you are correct, perspective is gained with time.
However, there are a couple of issues that I totally disagree with the university.
1) For each study I've heard that the chief offends people, I've heard of another that says that the native Americans don't care. So who to believe. Personally I think it is a bunch of PC BS. There are a lot more issues to be solved in this world than the symbol of a university.
2) The only reason the University finally decided to give in is because the NCAA was blackmailing them with hosting post season play. Hosting post season = $$$. So I blame both the university and NCAA in this respect. It's all about the money.
Now, while my passion for this issue has waned somewhat, it has not died. The problem is when you have made a point to be involved with a tradition, it does make you mad when they try to change it.
So some people don't get into the school spirit thing, there's nothing wrong with that. But if they do get into it, it becomes an issue that is important (even if it is important in just one small facet of life).
I guess to me, it's the principle. Everyone has something that they are fond of or have connections to. If someone messes with that (with no reason in this case in my opinion), then it is frustrating.
Now, some chick comparing it to losing a loved one... well that's just ... crazy.
By the way, I'm male, but not white, and if they had a team with the 'Fighting Filipino's' as the symbol, I wouldn't be offended by it if it was treated in the same way as U of I has treated the chief tradition.
I went to U of I, and I have a few things to point out about this little travesty.
Chief Illiniwek was chosen as a mascot to represent Strenght, tenacity, and the fighting spirit.
The Illlini tribe was wiped out several hundred years ago, and if I recall correctly, the tribe who wiped them out was one of the tribes protesting his use as a symbol.
The NCAA was going to gut the Illini basketball program if they didn't drop Chief Illini as the symbol and the halftime show with The Chief. This is the same NCAA that allows Notre Dame to keep their "Fighting Irish" mascot and steoreotype without any threat of sanctions.
I am Scandanavian by heritage. By rights, I guess this means I now have the right and the legal precedent to go after Minnesota Vikings for defiling my heritage with their silly logo of a viking in a horned hlemet (not historically accurate) and ponytails.
What is amusing is that some of the same people that voted for Blago are crying about the Chief.
Get a freaking clue people.
I think we should adopt the color orange, and have our mascot be an orange square like that of Omaha, so that the blobs of orange can run into each other and meld into one all encompassing orange that unites every one.
No, I'm kidding. I couldn't care less, however it would be funny to have a mascot as a square of a solid color that just stands there, it would bring a new level of excitement to college sports. Hell, some one might even learn something at a game, like what color orange or blue is.
I'm a doctoral student here, but....
I don't give a flying you-know-what one way or the other.