Friday, February 16, 2007

Chief Illiniwek

Ok, so as usual, the political correctness zealots have gone overboard. Chief Illiniwek is a symbol of the University of Illinois, but he is also a reminder of the history of the land now known as Illinois. Long before there were lawyers to squabble over school mascots, the Native American tribes farmed, hunted and lived on this land. The descendants of the tribe known as the Illini have been involved almost since the inception of Chief Illiniwek with supporting the tradition. Several polls of Native Americans have in general supported the use of Native American symbols and names as mascots. As usual in the United States, a vocal minority is trumping the rights of the majority.

I am mainly of Italian descent, but according to my Grandmother I have some either Cherokee or Creek blood from her side of the family. If tomorrow some team was to name their mascot Luigi the Fighting Paisono I would not be offended, nor do I think mafia types in suits would start shooting the mascot. These are sports teams we are talking about! Has the United States gotten to the point where we are willing to give up freedom of speech to prevent anyone from being offended?

Chief Illiniwek is a tradition that honors the Native Americans that once called Illinois home. The dance used at games was developed by an Eagle Scout that studied the traditional Fancy Dance of the Prairie Tribes. The regalia was also designed to be like the Prairie Tribes. I hope that the trustees feel a giant sucking sound as alumni funds dry up in support of the Chief.

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