BURY MY HEART AT CHAMPAIGN
Chief Illiniwek goes the way most other Native Americans went when they clashed with well-heeled white men:
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- The University of Illinois will drop its 81-year-old American Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek, following the last men's basketball home game of the season on Wednesday, officials said.
The move makes the school eligible to host postseason NCAA championship events, but it angered many Illini fans who say the chief honors American Indians.
The NCAA in 2005 deemed Illiniwek -- portrayed by buckskin-clad students who dance at home football and basketball games and other athletic events -- an offensive use of American Indian imagery and barred the university from hosting postseason events.
American Indian groups and others have complained for years that the mascot, used since 1926, is demeaning.
Illinois still will be able to use the name Illini because it's short for Illinois and the school can use the term Fighting Illini, because it's considered a reference to the team's competitive spirit, school officials said. It is unclear if the school will get a new mascot.
Ooh, ooh. I have a suggestion:
More in keeping with recent history.
Meanwhile, C&F has found out that the NCAA wasn't the only one helping the Native American advocates in their push to eliminate Illiniwek. They were also helped by supperlobbyist Jack Abramoff.
In fairness, C&F would also rather be associated with him than with Illinois football.