Oskee-Wow No More

Oskee-Wow-No More
Illinois has a very good tradition of higher education which is displayed by having a large number of colleges from which to choose within the state. Quite possibly the school in Illinois that is most respected and revered is the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Its 38,000 student enrollment reflects that many people want to graduate from that fine establishment (Selingo). While the University of Illinois is regarded as a great academic place, it is also recognized for its athletic prowess. With its recent successes in big time sports like men’s basketball (making it to the final four in 2004) and men’s football (making it to the Rose Bowl in 2007), U of I has become a national powerhouse. Equally recognizable as its orange and blue colors, is the U of I’s unique “mascot,” Chief Illiniwek, a Native American chief of a local tribe. Some people have argued recently that the chief is a terrible mascot which consequently led to his removal in the last year. Chief Illiniwek is a highly respected symbol that needs to be reinstated in order to promote the greatest possible amount of school spirit.
The main reason for the chief’s removal from the school is disapproval from Native Americans. It is impossible to ignore the fact that the Native Americans, who the school is trying to honor, are the mascot’s biggest opponents (Morrissey). It is easy to claim that they own the only opinions that truly matter. The chief’s attire and dance have been called offensively over the top and perverting a people’s religion (Trice). Rick Morrissey inputs, “It's worth noting that the students who have played the role of the Chief over the years have been about as Native American as the people who came over on the Mayflower.” This does not make it any easier for Native Americans to be able to accept the mascot. Recently, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Executive Committee asked Illinois to return the attire it supplied them in 1982 (Mehlmer). They also requested that...