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Old 01-22-2007, 11:11 AM   #2
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University: Illiniwek feathers returned
by The Associated Press
Rapid City Journal - 22 January 2007
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...te/state01.txt

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The chairman of the University of Illinois board of trustees says the school will decide this year whether to continue its use of the Chief Illiniwek mascot. But the ongoing controversy yielded a new mystery this week: What became of two sets of eagle feathers associated with the costume?

The Oglala Sioux tribe last week demanded that the university return the mascot’s costume, which was sold to the school by past Sioux elder Frank Fools Crow and included eagle feathers considered sacred to American Indians.

Fools Crow’s wife had made the costume and the university bought it, minus the headdress, in 1982. A feathered headdress was loaned to the school, University Associate Chancellor Robin Kaler said Friday.

The eagle feathers since have been replaced by turkey feathers.

Kaler said the headdress that included the eagle feathers was shipped in 1991 to a member of the tribe, Anthony Whirlwind Horse, who had agreed to get them to a descendant of Fools Crow.

In a 1991 letter to Whirlwind Horse, a copy of which was given Friday to The Associated Press, then-Associate Chancellor Judith Rowan thanked him for having found Fools Crow’s daughter.

Kaler said another set of feathers were sent at some point to Fools Crow to rework another headdress, but the university isn’t sure where they are.

Another 1991 letter from Rowan, this one to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, indicates they may have been lost. The federal agency enforces a law that prohibits the sale of eagle feathers.

“The death of Chief Fools Crow last year leads me to believe that this mystery is likely to remain unsolved,” Rowan wrote in 1991.

Eileen Janis, the administrative assistant to tribal President John Steele, said Friday that the Oglala Sioux tribe doesn’t believe it received the feathers. Whirlwind Horse was a tribe member, she said, and worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs before his death. She wasn’t sure when he died.

The South Dakota-based tribe’s three-member executive council made its demands in a resolution to the university board of trustees.

The tribe’s resolution says that a grandson of Fools Crow, Mel Lone Hill, said he never liked the way the regalia was used.

A number of messages left at Oglala Sioux offices in Pine Ridge, S.D., for Lone Hill and members of the executive committee Thursday and Friday were not returned.

But Lone Hill told The (Champaign) News-Gazette that the regalia was a gift to the school from his grandfather, something he otherwise would have inherited.

“It didn’t come from the tribe, it came from my grandfather,” he told the paper.

The Sioux resolution was delivered to the board ahead of its Thursday meeting in Chicago.

Board Chairman Lawrence C. Eppley opened Thursday’s meeting by reading a list of priorities for the university system for this year, among them resolution of the long-standing controversy over Illiniwek.

The NCAA considers the use of the Illiniwek mascot and the dance performed by the students who portray the chief to be “hostile and abusive” toward American Indians. The Illini have been barred by the NCAA since 2005 from hosting postseason sports.

The mascot issue has received renewed attention in recent weeks after an American Indian student at the university was threatened on a Web site devoted to defending the use of the chief mascot. The university has said it is investigating.
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