One last dance ... for Chief Illiniwek

February 21 2007

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Today is a very sad day here in Illinois. After years of controversy, legal battles, and lots of discussion on both sides of the story, Chief Illiniwek will dance his last dance. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees decided to stop fighting the NCAA. The reason he will no longer dance is that people find his portrayal of Native Americans to be distasteful and racist. As someone who is part Native American (I am 1/16 of Cherokee and Chickasaw), I find this to be absurd. The school has always done everything it can to make sure the Chief was respectful of the history and legacy of the Native Americans. I also think it is a joke that the NCAA allows the Florida Seminoles to have an Indian ride on to the field, on horseback, throwing a flaming spear, and that is OK. Lastly, many of the academics at U of I that want the Chief gone have no Native American blood. Grrrrrrr.

That being said, there is nothing that can be done. Tickets for tonight's Men's Basketball game against Michigan go for $25 normally, and are being sold for over $400. Rumors of protests by students and alumni are swirling around.

At least they get to keep the Illini name (attributed to a short name for Illinois) and the Fighting Illini (which was a name used before the Chief). And if anyone thinks people will not wear Chief logowear to games ... you are insane.

Remember the Chief. Honor. Tradition. Respect. For more about the story, check out this.

Update 2/22/2007: Here is an article on ESPN about the last dance. Here is a video of the last dance as well.And yes, today I am wearing black.

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