Chief Illiniwek needed to disappear
Sorrow for the Chief sets in
University fails to unify a campus divided on Chief
NCAA Executive Committee Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues Report on References to American Indians in Intercollegiate Athletics
History of the Yale Bulldog, “Handsome Dan”
Mascots have been an interesting and curious part of collegiate athletics for well over a century, and their number includes the University of California at Santa Cruz’s banana slug to Yale’s much-loved Handsome Dan, who happens to be an English bulldog. Perhaps the most controversial types of mascots are not animals, but rather those that depict Native Americans. While some people have defended the use of such mascots on the grounds that such depictions honor members of various tribes and their traditions, many groups find them offensive, and in many instances, racist. The issue has come to the public’s attention in recent weeks, as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign decided to retire Chief Illiniwek, who had been a regular feature of athletic contests at the school since 1926. The controversy has been ongoing around many campuses for the past decade, and the matter has intensified since 2005, when the NCAA decided that member institution with “hostile or abusive” mascots would not be allowed to host postseason athletic activities. As a number of commentators have suggested in the press, it may now also be time to take a closer look at symbols and mascots used by professional sports teams, such as Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians or the Washington Redskins.
The first link will take visitors to a piece from NPR that features an interview with one of the students who portrayed Chief Illiniwek in the early 1990s and his reaction to the recent decision. Moving along, the second link takes visitors to a piece written by Justin Breen, the sports editor for the Times of Northwest Indiana that comments on the removal of Chief Illiniwek. The third link leads to a piece from the Journal Gazette, based in Mattoon, Illinois, and it covers the dismay that some have felt over the removal of Chief Illiniwek. The fourth link will take users to a piece from the student newspaper of the University of Illinois which comments on the divisions within the school over this subject. The fifth link leads to a rather lengthy report from the NCAA regarding “references to American Indians in Intercollegiate Athletics” from August 2005. The sixth link leads to a detailed history of Handsome Dan, Yale University’s own beloved bulldog, complete with information on the current animal, who happens to be the sixteenth bulldog to serve in this capacity. The final link will be of special interest to anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a mascot, as it features information on how to tryout and audition for such a position, along with a section on crafting a crowd-pleasing routine.