Optin Monster



No announcement yet.

I hope this raises awareness about the damage made by Native Mascots

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I hope this raises awareness about the damage made by Native Mascots

    This is an issue at my school, the University of Illinois

    This article from NYTimes.com
    The Squabbling Illini: Rallying Cries Lead to Rift

    December 16, 2003

    URBANA, Ill. - The history books say the last Indian tribe
    in Illinois was forcibly relocated to Kansas and then
    Oklahoma early in the 19th century.

    But there is one Indian left, according to members of the
    Honor the Chief Society: Chief Illiniwek.

    Of course, the chief is not a typical Indian, and he is not
    even a real one. He is a student dressed in Hollywood-style
    regalia, created 77 years ago by an assistant band director
    at the University of Illinois. He dances at halftime of
    football and basketball games.

    A debate over whether mascots with Indian themes are
    offensive or harmless has played out on college campuses
    and at professional stadiums for more than two decades. But
    there is something singular here, a fierce loyalty to a
    student in war paint that makes the hair stand on grown
    men's forearms. The passions aroused by the chief also make
    the great-great-granddaughter of Sitting Bull, a junior at
    Illinois, fear for her safety.

    The catalyst for the debate was a proposal last month by
    Dr. Frances Carroll, a new member of the university's board
    of trustees, to have Chief Illiniwek "honorably retired."
    She set aside her proposal after her support on the board
    eroded unexpectedly, but she intends to raise it again in

    The proposal has divided the board and the university along
    political and, at times, racial lines. A symbol of pride to
    many students and alumni, Chief Illiniwek can at the same
    time be a hurtful reminder to American Indians of their
    mistreatment, of the misappropriation of their culture.

    The chief's presence at football and basketball games flies
    in the face of a national trend. In 1970, more than 3,000
    American athletic programs referred to American Indians in
    nicknames, logos or mascots, according to the Morning Star
    Institute, a Native American organization. Today, there are
    fewer than 1,100. At a time when American Indians are
    reclaiming their heritage, the use of Indian mascots and
    nicknames has ceased at all but a handful of major

    At Illinois, though, the forces of change have met strong
    resistance. Roger Huddleston, a local home builder and the
    president of the Honor the Chief Society, calls Carroll's
    proposal the "November ambush at the O.K. Corral."

    "Chief Illiniwek is part of my geographic heritage," he
    said. "For anyone to dismiss that because I'm Caucasian,
    that's racist."

    Whose Symbol Is It?

    John Gadaut, a lawyer in Champaign, said he had spent more
    than $5,000 on keep-the-chief billboards and buttons.

    "I'm a Native American," said Gadaut, who is white. "I was
    born and bred in Illinois. The chief means something to me,
    too. People keep saying we have a mascot. No, we have a

    But those who think it is time to do away with the chief
    note that the symbol for the past three years, and for
    almost all of the past eight decades, has been portrayed by
    a white college student.

    More than 800 faculty members have signed petitions,
    contending that the mascot interferes with fulfilling an
    academic mission, diversity. Nancy Cantor, the chancellor
    of the university's Champaign-Urbana campus, supports doing
    away with the mascot.

    Carroll said: "It's time for it to be put to bed. It's
    tough, but we have to do it."

    Their success is still very much in doubt, with
    well-financed boosters and alumni determined to keep the

    "It's got all the subtexts," Lawrence C. Eppley, the
    chairman of the board of trustees, said. On one side, he
    said, are "the people who see themselves as the do-goodie
    white person."

    "On the other, you got the old, bad white people from the
    Midwest who can't change with the times," he said. "This is
    about the chief, of course, but it's partly about the tail
    end of the p.c. backlash of the 90's. When you start
    throwing the word racist around, the other side becomes
    firmly entrenched."

    Genevieve Tenoso, an anthropology major who is a
    seventh-generation descendant of Sitting Bull, the
    legendary Hunkpapa leader, experienced a dose of the
    roiling emotions when she ran into a group of students
    demonstrating on behalf of the chief under the banner "The
    Illini Nation."

    "I think I said, `Look, now they've got their own tribe,' "
    she said. "And a guy told me if I didn't shut up he was
    going to pop me in the lip."

    "Who knew," she said, "that this would be the issue on
    campus to get people to resort to a threat of violence?"

    The Battle Begins

    The movement to abolish American Indian
    nicknames began in the 1960's in Indian communities and on
    several college campuses. Oklahoma's "Little Red" was the
    first nickname to be retired, in 1970. Stanford and
    Dartmouth soon followed, dropping Indians from their team

    The movement to do away with the nicknames and mascots
    appeared to have won a key battle in 1999, when a panel in
    the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled that
    Redskins was a disparaging moniker and violated federal
    law. Six trademarks involving the Washington Redskins were

    Last month, federal District Court Judge Colleen
    Kollar-Kotelly overturned that ruling. Suzan Harjo, one of
    six plaintiffs in the case, said they had appealed.

    At Illinois, Charlene Teters, a member of the Spokane
    Nation, took her children to a football game in the late
    1980's and decided to do something about Chief Illiniwek.

    Soon after, Teters, a graduate student at the time, started
    holding up a handmade placard outside the stadium that read
    "American Indians are people, not mascots." News accounts
    of her protest spurred the movement.

    "When you see a community erode your child's self-esteem,
    you act," said Teters, now an artist and professor at the
    Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, N.M. When she
    arrived at Illinois, a campus sorority was still holding a
    Miss Illini Squaw contest.

    "I felt then we needed to kill the fake Indian," Teters
    said. "They say, `We're doing it to honor Native Americans
    and the history of the state.' But it just seems like
    misplaced atonement, especially when they want to dictate
    the boundaries of that atonement."

    Ever since, the chief's three-minute halftime performance
    has divided the university, sometimes along political

    Carroll, the trustee seeking to retire the mascot, is an
    African-American former schoolteacher with Democratic
    leanings who grew up and still lives on the South Side of
    Chicago. Carroll insisted that her motivation had nothing
    to do with being an African-American woman and everything
    to do with "being a human being."

    Marge Sodemann, one of two voting trustees on the
    university's 10-member board who adamantly defend the
    chief, is a staunch Republican from the prairie. The
    license plate on her sedan reads "GOP Lady."

    "The chief stands for the values, trust and honor of
    everything that went on in the past," Sodemann said. "It's
    not a racist mascot. Everything he's done is honorable. The
    people here really dote on him."

    More than 200 students, including dozens of members of the
    marching band, held an all-night vigil in support of the
    mascot before the board meeting Nov. 13. The day of the
    meeting, other students demonstrated in favor of retiring
    the chief. And during the public board meeting, some white
    students sang Indian songs and performed tomahawk chops.

    Proposal Must Wait

    Carroll needs 6 of the board's 10
    votes to retire the chief. At the 11th hour, she said, at
    least two trustees waffled in their support, so she shelved
    the proposal until March.

    Anti-chief factions contend that wealthy alumni have long
    pressured Illinois governors to maintain the mascot, and
    they say that governors, through channels, have pressured
    their appointees on the university's board. Governor Rod R.
    Blagojevich has said that the decision is a university

    While her fellow trustees were aware of Carroll's passion
    for the issue, they did not know the ancestry of the woman
    for whom she is named. Frances Graves, Carroll's
    grandmother, was a Creek Indian from York, Ala. Carroll
    brought a photo of Graves, a light-skinned woman with
    straight hair who was wearing a cloth hat and a collared,
    white powdery sweater, to an interview at the university's
    Chicago campus.

    "I haven't really told anyone about that, just didn't see
    the need," Carroll said. "They always said she was
    full-blooded, but I'm not really sure.

    "Anyhow, I never thought about it, being a black woman
    sticking up for the American Indian or doing this for my
    grandmother. I just thought about doing what's right."

    Chief Illiniwek was created in 1926 by the university's
    assistant band director, Lester Luetwiler.

    The chief's first appearance came during a game against
    Penn; he offered a peace pipe to a mascot of William Penn.

    Red Grange was the Illini star then, and many alumni
    associated the Galloping Ghost with the advent of the chief
    era. An icon was born.

    Matt Veronie, a white graduate student with spiked, gelled
    hair and neatly ironed khaki pants, is the current chief.
    (An assistant chief sometimes fills in for him.) At games,
    Veronie's cheeks are painted Illini orange and blue. He
    wears a matching feathered war bonnet and Lakota-made
    buckskin; at halftime, he dances and leaps with a solemn
    countenance. He wonders about all the fuss.

    "I think what I'm doing is a good thing," he said.

    There is a lot more at:
    "Do you love me because I am beautiful or am I beautiful because you love me?" ~Cinderella
    Obsession is an action word...
    "I !!! and all things PINK!!!
    This is for you Prince Charming....
    Make Love :KISS001: not war..... :war00000:

  • #2
    have you watched the vidieo "In whoes Honor"? It might be helpfull.


    Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.




    • OLChemist
      Redhorse Cafe -- the Food Truck
      by OLChemist
      *Rose wakes Chuy up and chases him out in to the parking lot to see his new digs. She fires up the portable evaporative cooler next to the tables. *

      Chuy, some iced tea, carne adovada, calabacitas, and sopaillas, please. It's so much fun to watch WD and BA chase their napkins in the...
      06-21-2021, 01:08 PM
    • Tsalagi_Phoenix
      by Tsalagi_Phoenix
      It seems that all the 'what are you reading now' threads have died and I decided to make my own thread for books.

      Post what you're currently reading, ask for recommendations or give recommendations, post what books you got most recently and anything else book related.

      02-16-2012, 08:46 PM

    Sidebar Ad