Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Opinion
Editorial: 'Chief Illiniwek' a sacred symbol


"Let's see, the NCAA said it was OK for Florida State University to maintain its nickname, the Seminoles, and its symbol, Chief Osceola, who rides bareback on a horse. That is because of the university's long-time educational role with the Seminoles, an existing Indian tribe.

However, the NCAA would only approve Illini and Fighting Illini as nicknames for the University of Illinois, but not its symbol, Chief Illiniwek, as a mascot or logo. Illini, it was reasoned, was taken from the name of the state. However, the Chief and chief logo, are considered "hostile or abusive" characterizations of Native Americans.

Of course, Illinois couldn't have an ongoing relationship with the Illini tribe as Florida State does with the Seminoles because the Illini no longer exist. So, Illinois doesn't have tribal members to speak in its behalf. So why is it left up to people with no affiliation with the Illini tribe, on campus or within the NCAA offices, to decide whether Illinois should terminate a sacred, 80-year-old tradition to become politically correct?"

Get the Story:
Editorial: The Chief has no Illini tribe to ask for support (The Bloomington Pantagraph 11/19)

Relevant Links:
Chief Illiniwek, University of Illinois - http://www.uiuc.edu/dialogue/index.html
Retire the Chief - http://www.retirethechief.org

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