Plenty of opinions, and some practical suggestions, were shared Tuesday at the Illini Union at a public event designed to build on a recent campus conversation about Native American imagery on campus.
On the heels of a trip by two University of Illinois trustees to Oklahoma, a Chief ... supporter Thursday urged the board to forge closer ties with the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and win its support for the "Fighting Illini" name and possibly a new version of the Chief.
He's still weighing the feedback, but University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones said a couple of suggestions have stood out from the recent conversations about Chief ...: developing new traditions for the campus and finding a way to commemorate the Chief's history at the university.
As the school year comes to an end, let’s take a look back on the biggest moments that happened over the year, in no particular order.
Twenty four hours after the senate vote, and the U of I is still discussing Chief ...
An effort to stop unauthorized Chief ... appearances at University of Illinois sporting events fell short Monday, but the Academic Senate approved a substitute resolution calling on the campus to revise protest policies at UI athletic facilities.
The UI Senate voted to work with the State Farm Center to change its protest policy.
Professor Jay Rosenstein plans to ask the University of Illinois Academic Senate to vote on a resolution calling on the UI to stop Chief ... appearances at campus sporting events.
Nothing was resolved, but Tuesday's conversation about Chief ... may have provided a bit of "closure" 11 years after the Chief's last halftime dance, some participants said.
Next week's "critical conversation" about the Chief ... controversy and Native American imagery will feature a former Chief portrayer and the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
The campus senate is urging University of Illinois leaders to move beyond the decades-long Chief ... controversy by supporting Native American programs and research on campus and enforcing its trademark rights over Chief imagery.
"Chief ... ceased being a mascot for the University of Illinois sports teams more than a decade ago. But the debate about the Chief has been going on much longer than that, ..."
The University of Illinois student government continues to try to get rid of the Chief ... logo.
A rule has students and faculty proposing a resolution to stop the unofficial chief from being at UI sporting events.
Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman is asking Illini Nation to be open-minded when talking about issues concerning Chief ...
After years of protests by Native Americans and pressure from the N.C.A.A., the University of Illinois in 2007 retired its mascot, Chief ..., who wore a feathered headdress and beaded buckskin to dance while the band played. The end of the chief, a university official said at the time, was a chance to “move our institution forward.”
Illinois Student Government senators heard the public’s opinion about Chief ... and passed a resolution at Wednesday’s meeting to remove the Chief symbol from University buildings.
The student government at the University of Illinois is pushing the school to remove all remaining Chief ... images from campus.
“This campus is more divided than I’ve ever seen it. These protesters are more emphatic, destructive and literally hostile than I’ve ever seen before. And it’s shaking. It’s disappointing,” Dozier said.
Saturday’s football game against Wisconsin was preceded by a Native American dance performance to show solidarity with the use of Chief ...’s likeness on campus. The performance was hosted by the Native American Guardian Association, an organization dedicated to preserving Native American imagery and symbolism in American athletics. “We come to find with recent research … most Native American people actually embrace (Native American symbols),” said Mark Thomas Beasley Yellow Horse, president of NAGA.
“So to continue to have these things taken away from the identity of who we are as a University it absolutely kills me because I know myself, I know anybody who put on one of those football jerseys or any of those Illlini jerseys for any other sport, you tried to embody as a player and as a person everything that the Chief embodied and symbolized himself.”
"It is almost more offensive that Native Americans, who do support Native American mascots, are bullied into finding something offensive that doesn’t offend them. It is more offensive that people who are in no way affiliated with Native Americans are the same people who so morally oppose these mascots. They are the same people who are trying to tell Native Americans how to think and feel."
“This is why there is such a passion revolving around this subject. To some outsiders, it’s ‘just a stupid mascot,’ and they scream for us to move on already. To those of us who understand, who’ve lived on campus, upholding the great traditions, this runs deep within us. It’s a pride that gets us excited at ballgames. It’s a feeling when you hear the band hit that first big note during pre-game in Memorial Stadium or during halftime of the ‘Three-in-One’ Chief’s appearance and dance. It gives us chills when we gather at homecoming, with a feeling of ‘family’ after years of not seeing our friends from far away places. And all of this revolves around the Chief, the pride of the Illini."
This is a four-chapter series about how the tradition of Chief ... continues on campus despite its ban in 2007. The series dives into how the Chief has remained a prevalent image in the C-U community and how its impact is felt across campus.
“I will say that most of the community is pretty uneducated about the full history and symbolism, which is unfortunate, but gives us a clear goal of education,” Ivan Dozier says. “Not a single person I’ve talked to over the years who is against the Chief has had all of their facts correct. To me this paints a clear picture—that we need to get everyone educated about the issue first and come to opinions later.”
"Because with this deeply complex issue, the truth is that U. of I. banning War Chant isn’t really just about a song. Rather, big picture-wise, it’s yet another step in the university’s maddening campaign to eradicate all things related to this state’s Native American heritage rather than find ways to better embrace it."