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Column: Mascots disempower Native Americans



"America wants Native Americans confined to a place where they are powerless and objects of entertainment: It dresses white kids from the suburbs in feathered headdresses, war paint and moccasins. If only their real demise had been so amusing.

The surest method of instigating an argument is to mess with someone's collegiate traditions and reminiscences -- even demeaning customs grounded in racial superiority. That notion will be underscored tonight when, after 81 years, Chief Illiniwek does his final dance during a basketball game, nearly a year after the school exhausted its NCAA appeal process.

Not that Illinois, or the NCAA, deserves an ovation.

I don't often fancy the NCAA's idea of justice, but I've caught the Chief's dance routine. I don't know if I would call it antagonistic, but it left me chagrined.

Some students remain irate. They lowered the level of discourse and revealed their contempt."

Get the Story:
Jon Saraceno: Native Americans should decide themselves on offensive mascots (USA Today 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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