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Chief Illiniwek

His Last Official Performance

 
    

The "three in one"

       

 The Unofficial Return of Chief Illiniwek

 

 

Chief Illiniwek

Chief Illiniwek was the mascot and official symbol of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign associated with the University's intercollegiate athletic programs from 1926 to February 21, 2007. The mascot was generally portrayed by a white student dressed in Sioux regalia and intended to honor the Illiniwek, the state's namesake. The student portraying Chief Illiniwek performed during halftime of Illinois football and basketball games, as well as during women's volleyball matches.

For more than two decades, Chief Illiniwek has been the center of a controversy. At the root of the controversy is the view of some Native American groups and others that the symbol/mascot was a misappropriation of indigenous cultural figures and rituals and that it perpetuated stereotypes about Native American peoples. As a result of this controversy, the NCAA termed Chief Illiniwek a "hostile or abusive" mascot and image in August 2005 and banned the university from hosting postseason activities as long as it continued to use the mascot and symbol.

 In April 2008, the "Council of Chiefs", a group of previous Chief Illiniwek performers, named a student to portray the chief, although this portrayal is not sanctioned or endorsed by the University.

An event called "Students for Chief Illiniwek Presents: The Next Dance,took place on November 15, 2008 following the football game against Ohio State University, in the Assembly Hall.

"We want to do this event on a very exciting day for Illini fans and we want it to be a complement to that day's game," said Roberto Martell Jr., president of Students for Chief Illiniwek and junior in LAS.   An open letter was sent forth by the Native American House encouraging the entire University community to speak out against the event.  The event took place in the spirit it was meant to further - one of support and respect for the spirit that Chief Illinwek represents. -Wikipedia

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