Editorial: Send 'Chief Illiniwek' back into retirement
"Last weekend an unfortunate figure returned to the University of Illinois, and it wasn't Jeff George. Chief Illiniwek, the former school mascot, was back to adorn floats and assorted regalia at Homecoming to the cheers of some and the bitter horror of those who thought the feathered one had been retired for good.

You may have thought that the Chief was banned last year after the NCAA called Illiniwek a "hostile or abusive" mascot and prevented the school from hosting postseason games as long as it paraded him about. You may have thought Illinois had joined dozens of other schools from Stanford to St. John's in putting Native American caricatures to bed. You thought wrong.

A victory 20 years in the making was overturned when Illinois chancellor Richard Herman declared that the Homecoming ban violated the U.S. constitution saying, "The University values free speech and free expression and considers Homecoming floats, decorations, costumes and related signage all representations of such personal expression."

Yes, our forefathers fought and died to protect the right to display caricatures of the conquered at public institutions of higher learning. The word Illiniwek means "tribe of superior men." In making the decision to allow Chief Illiniwek to return, Herman acted in a manner of the inferior, following instead of leading."

Get the Story:
David Zirin: The Sad Resurrection of Chief Illiniwek (The Dissident Voice 10/31)

Relevant Links:
Retire the Chief - http://www.retirethechief.org

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