Chief Illiniwek battle an especially harsh one
Tuesday, December 16, 2003

In 1970, more than 3,000 schools and universities used Indian mascots, symbols or themes. Today, that number is down to less than 1,100.

One that remains has sparked an intense battle at the University of Illinois where "Chief Illiniwek" dresses up in Indian-like regalia and performs a dance during halftime at games. Most faculty and Indian students and alumni consider the Chief racist and derogatory.

But most alumni and non-Indians don't see a problem with it. They say the Chief honors Indian people, who were kicked out of Illinois in the 19th century.

The school trustees were asked to "retain" or "retire" the mascot but voted by majority to keep it. Last month, one trustee who opposes the Chief dropped a resolution that would have removed it because she said two trustees changed their mind at the last minute.

Get the Story:
The Squabbling Illini: Rallying Cries Lead to Rift (The New York Times 12/16)
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Relevant Links:
Chief Illiniwek, University of Illinois -
Anti-Chief Site -

Related Stories:
Editorial: Stop 'pussyfooting' on Chief Illiniwek (11/17)
Commentary: Don't get rid of Chief Illiniwek (11/13)
'Chief' school opens Native American House (02/07)
Ill. mascot foes awarded $5,000 (07/23)
Ex-school official faces suit in mascot case (5/29)
Students vote to retire Illiniwek (5/3)
Retain or retire, but no apology for 'Chief' (3/14)
Chief Illiniwek report released (3/13)
Editorial: Rethink mascot opposition (3/7)
Illiniwek foes win round in court (4/6)
Church gives money to Chief Illiniwek foes (2/8)

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