Test your Chief Illiniwek IQ

With the retirement Chief Illiniwek, the fog of mythology thickens. As accusations fly, how well can YOU see fact from fiction? Test your Chief Illiniwek IQ. True or False?: 1. The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign was established partly using money from selling off Native American lands. TRUE. 2. After the US Bureau of Indian Affairs outlawed Indian religion, dance, and ritual on reservations, Chief Illiniwek was invented as half-time entertainment for UI football games. TRUE. The original 1926 Chief Illiniwek a white student dressed as a tribal Chief smoking a "peace pipe" with another student dressed as William Penn. 3. The dress, dance, and symbol of Chief Illiniwek bear no relation to the dress, dances, and symbols of any tribe from the midwest. TRUE. The dress is borrowed from Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, staged photos by Edward Curtis, and the Boy Scouts - who captured the European-American imagination with a single image of The Indian - a pre-reservation Native American from the southwest Plains region. The dance is made up acrobatics. 4. The tradition of genocide has historically involved appropriation of religious symbols. TRUE. For example, when the Romans conquered the Greeks, they took their gods, renamed them, and began to worship them. 5. The movement to remove the Chief Illiniwek mascot started in 1988 when the UI Art Department recruited several students form the School of American Indian Arts. TRUE. Marcus Amerman was mocked and threatened for his opposition to the mascot, had a break down, and left the University of Illinois. Charlene Teters stood alone outside a UI game with a sign "American Indians are human beings, not mascots" and was spat on, had beer cans thrown at her, and received threatening phone calls. 6. When the UI Homecoming king and queen said statements opposing the Chief mascot in 1997, the UI ended the practice of crowning Homecoming kings and queens. TRUE. 7. When the Native American singing trio Ulali visited the UI to sing and discuss Native American issues, they were expressly told by the administration not to talk about Chief Illiniwek. TRUE. 8. In a recent online posting, one UI student suggested throwing a thomahawk in the face of a Native American student and another said "I hope all those casino-owning bums die." TRUE. And on WDWS talk show "Penny for your Thoughts" angry callers talked about ways to "get back at the Indians who did this (removed the mascot)" spoke disparagingly of drunk Indians, and called for revenge on anti-Chief activist professor Stephen Kaufman. 9. Lawrence Eppley, the Chair of the UI Board of Trustees who handed down the decision to remove the Chief Illiniwek mascot, said in 2003 (before the NCAA decision) "Logically and historically, it is really tough to build a case for having in (Illiniwek). It's likely a Boy Scout dance, at best. It's a matter of when, rather than if Illiniwek will be retired." TRUE. 10. A group of young white men who have played Indian as Chief Illiniwek mascots have formed an non-profit organization which is trying to get the multi-million dollar Chief Illiniwek trademark donated to them by the UI so they can continue "the Chief Illiniwek tradition." TRUE. The UI appears ready hand it over to them so that they can continue the tradition of cashing in on racism. So how did you do? If you said, false to any of the above, we suggest you read "Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots" by Carol Spindel where she lays out a historical, rather than hysterical perspective on the Chief. Here are a few quotes from "Dancing at Halftime": "Myths are complex narratives in which human cultures stabilize and encode their deepest ambivalences. There is no deeper American ambivalence than our feelings about how we acquired the land we love ... Ambivalent about the truth, we turn to myths like Starved Rock and mascots like Osceola and Chief Illiniwek to reconcile the contradiction between our aspirations and our history." "The old 'mammy' Aunt Jemima has become the province of collectors ... but an American Indian identity is still a commodity that can be taken on, as if it belonged to everyone." And finally ... the word of a child upon meeting a real Native American for the first time "But Indians aren't real, they're all dead."

Chief Illiniwek

I notice you fail to mention that there was also a post on facebook or myspace or some such ridiculous blog in which the poster said he would like to take a gun/revolver and shoot the Chief in the head. Oddly, that always seems to get left out of any discussion of this kind.

That was dumb too

That was also a dumb comment. Maybe the general Facebook idiocy will subside after a while.

What's the Difference?

"chief" supporters flocked here to defend such things as their rights to "just have a little fun" by threatening violence against anti-"chief" activists and to defend the idea that "tacos and tequila" was just good, clean fun. The person who threatened the "chief" was condemned by anti-"chief" activists and no one tried to promote the idea that such a threat was just a college prank and no one asserted that such threats should just be ignored or trivialized.

Another book recommendation

I just want to suggest another book - "Playing Indian" by Philip J. Deloria. This book examines the use of Indian imagery in the United States from the country's founding, from the Boston Tea Party and Tammany Hall, through the Boy Scout movement, all the "Indian lore" in summer camps, and movies like "Dancing with Wolves." He calls attention to the US tension between being outside immigrants (compared to the people living here when the settlers arrived) and being "natives" (compared to the Europeans "back home") and how this leads to the dual conception of the Indians as both savages who must be civilized, and a representation for the free, newly nativized spirit of the US. The book doesn't mention Chief Illiniwek at all, but in another sense, he pervades the book. It's a good read, even for ordinary non-academics like myself. Particularly the sections on the Boy Scout movement are illuminating. -- Itazurakko. 残念ながらこのスレも釣り禁止…

champaign.com, urbana.com

has anybody noticed that champaign.com and urbana.com are now addresses for ucimc.org? cool. good work , guys.


"And finally ... the word of a child upon meeting a real Native American for the first time "But Indians aren't real, they're all dead."" Everyone, this may be shocking, but some children are ignorant.

Edward S. Cutis

You made mention of Edward S. Curtis, so you will find the following to be of interest. THE INDIAN PICTURE OPERA, a new film on the works of Curtis is a re-creation of a 1911 Curtis Slide show and lecture. The dvd can be searched out on CustomFlix.com . This production goes way beyond the images themselves. It's a virtual vignette on E.S.Curtis's observations from a century ago. The film probes the foundations of native American deitys, beiliefs, and the quest for food. I'm sure you will enjoy!

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