Opinions: 'Chief Illiniwek' going out like Custer

Mark Kiesling: "Today is Chief Illiniwek's Last Stand, and it doesn't look like he is going to come out of this any better than Custer did.

The University of Illinois mascot, a student dressed in authentic regalia provided to the university in 1982 by an authentic chief of the Oglala Sioux, will dance his last dance tonight at the season's final home men's basketball game of the regular season.

Is it time for the chief to go? I guess if the people you are trying to honor are instead offended it is."


Bloomington Pantagraph Editorial: "The University of Illinois Board of Trustees wimped out again. The board danced around the Chief Illiniwek issue for years, trying not to offend either side and placating neither.

The board talked of 'compromise' even though, clearly, no compromise was possible between the two sides.

When the decision to drop the Chief was made, the board did it without a vote, without a public meeting, without an opportunity for a final plea."


"There's a clear course Illini fans should follow tonight: Send the Chief off with respect and then move on. This is an argument that's over.

The University of Illinois really had no choice. The NCAA refused to bend on its claim that the Chief was inappropriate and threatened the school with not being able to host NCAA events. That doesn't have a big impact on the major sports of football and basketball, but does put some of the other sports at a competitive disadvantage. The university rightfully feels an obligation to present its athletes with the same opportunities available to those at other institutions."


Randy Kindred: "Right and correct - as in politically correct - have become estranged in the verbal sparring over outgoing University of Illinois mascot Chief Illiniwek.

Thousands of Illini graduates, students, fans, etc., will tell you the end of the Chief's 81-year reign, which comes tonight at halftime of a home basketball game against Michigan, is the product of NCAA meddling and political correctness run amok. They see nothing 'right' about that.

To Native American leaders who find the Chief's dress/dance offensive and demeaning, the decision to drop him by Illinois' Board of Trustees is long overdue.

Some of us fall in between. We wonder why the NCAA feels compelled to legislate nicknames and mascots, and at the same time, understand how some can be - in NCAA speak - 'abusive.'"

Get the Story:
Mark Kiesling: Save the last dance for the chief (The Northwest Illinois Times 2/21)
Editorial: The Chief's demise no proud moment for board (The Bloomington Pantagraph 2/21)
Editorial: Let Chief decision rest and move on (The Decatur Herald and Review 2/21)
Randy Politically correct doesn't mean right for Chief (The Bloomington Pantagraph 2/21)

NCAA Update:
Status of Indian Mascot Policy (April 28, 2006)

NCAA Executive Committee Decision:
Native American Mascot Appeals Decisions (April 28, 2006)

NCAA Policy on Indian Mascots:
NCAA Executive Committee Issues Guidelines for Use of Native American Mascots at Championship Events (August 5, 2005)

Relevant Links:
Chief Illiniwek, University of Illinois - http://www.uiuc.edu/dialogue/index.html
Retire the Chief - http://www.retirethechief.org

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