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Native American Guardian Association advocates for Chief Illiniwek

Ivan+Dozier%2C+the+unofficial+Chief+Illiniwek+from+2010+to+2015%2C+spoke+of+an+Illini+Republicans+meeting+Thursday+in+Lincoln+Hall.+Dozier+informed+those+in+attendance+of+the+general+history+of+the+Chief%2C+how+it+was+started%2C+how+it+was+carried+out+and+why+it+was+retired.+Currently%2C+the+Native+American+Guardian+Association+and+others+are+encouraging+the+authentic+use+of+the+Chief.
Ivan Dozier, the unofficial Chief Illiniwek from 2010 to 2015, spoke of an Illini Republicans meeting Thursday in Lincoln Hall. Dozier informed those in attendance of the general history of the Chief, how it was started, how it was carried out and why it was retired. Currently, the Native American Guardian Association and others are encouraging the authentic use of the Chief.

Ivan Dozier, the unofficial Chief Illiniwek from 2010 to 2015, spoke of an Illini Republicans meeting Thursday in Lincoln Hall. Dozier informed those in attendance of the general history of the Chief, how it was started, how it was carried out and why it was retired. Currently, the Native American Guardian Association and others are encouraging the authentic use of the Chief.

Ethan Scholl

Ethan Scholl

Ivan Dozier, the unofficial Chief Illiniwek from 2010 to 2015, spoke of an Illini Republicans meeting Thursday in Lincoln Hall. Dozier informed those in attendance of the general history of the Chief, how it was started, how it was carried out and why it was retired. Currently, the Native American Guardian Association and others are encouraging the authentic use of the Chief.

By Karan Abrol, Staff Writer

Saturday’s football game against Wisconsin was preceded by a Native American dance performance to show solidarity with the use of Chief Illiniwek’s likeness on campus.

The performance was hosted by the Native American Guardian Association, an organization dedicated to preserving Native American imagery and symbolism in American athletics.

“We come to find with recent research … most Native American people actually embrace (Native American symbols),” said Mark Thomas Beasley Yellow Horse, president of NAGA.

The performance featured an Honor Song in respect for war veterans and both a women’s traditional and a men’s traditional Native American dance. It ended with a Unity song, in which the crowd of over 50 people joined hands and moved in a circle to a slow beat.

Beasley said NAGA also focuses on encouraging more authentic portrayals and educating people who propagate Native American symbolism to do so accurately.

“That’s mainly how most people on reservations view it: They like it; they’re proud that they want to use our name and show our heritage,” said Eunice Davidson, a member of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe. Davidson is a board member of NAGA.

The event was primarily in defence of keeping the “Fighting Illini” as the University’s official football team name.

“We agree that sometimes the symbols that have been used are not appropriate,” said Andre Billeaudeaux, executive director of NAGA. “But the idea is to educate, not eradicate, and the idea is to improve what you have but never give up the opportunity to teach about Native Americanism.” 

The organization has traveled to other states to preserve the symbolism used.

“We want to support keeping the Fighting Illini. We’ve gone many places. We ended up going to Michigan to save the Redskins name, and the vote eventually saved it there,” Davidson said.

Ivan Dozier, board member of the Honor the Chief Society and unofficial Chief Illiniwek from 2010 to 2015, was also in attendance.

Dozier said the Honor the Chief Society was looking to partner with NAGA to make sure honorable representations of Native American culture are celebrated rather than destroyed.

“They’re here to stand and support Illinois in the way that it celebrates its Native American imagery, and we’re here to secure the movement and the Chief’s return,” Dozier said.

Davidson said that although she supports the Chief, she doesn’t think it’s completely authentic.

Beasley said that although the logo is nice, it could be altered and that he doesn’t support people wearing the Native American headdress without understanding what it stands for.

“The headdress is something for a warrior in Native America to earn … (the design) is a more North West design,” Beasley said.

David Davidson, Eunice Davidson’s husband, said the beauty of Native American culture was under attack because of people who want to change the football team’s name.

“There is nothing derogatory about Native Americans,”David said. “I cry every time I see the dancers coming out and hear the drum beats, because that is who they are and that is what is under attack. The ultimate goal is to get rid of Native Americans and that breaks my heart.”

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11 Comments

  • Jeffrey Price

    Wow. Holy crap! This is incredible! Let’s NOW all get together (not to trade insults) but reflect on this event.

  • Steve Trevor

    She reminds me of how my kids acted… when they were 3!

  • Mary Dulaney

    https://archives.library.illinois.edu/blog/fighting-illini-name/
    An explanation of “Fighting Illini” as researched by the UofI Library

  • Julie Dye

    Backwards bunch of fools. Who paid for them to travel to Illinois from N. Dakota and elsewhere? Smells to high heaven.

  • Joe

    NAGA is nothing more than a paid and supported (by guess who) group that advocates keeping all Native mascots. They are not Tribal,…nor do they represent real Native Americans. Instead,…they advocate for and defend every Native Stereotype ever put out by anyone. Notice there are never any pictures of those who run this organization,…nor were there any shown in the article about the Illinois mascot.Native Americans ? Nope,..wannabees and phonies !

  • Donna Fann-Boyle

    NAGA fights to keep racism against native people alive through mascotry , these mascots provoke uncontrollable abusive behaviors , stereotypes and
    profiling.By NAGA fighting to keep these racist mascots alive they are making native people the exception to every single law and policy created to protect all minorities.

  • Donna Fann-Boyle

    This is a member of NAGA who spews hateful racist comments against minorities. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/329900064f7d1ed79b38cd3b5084072496dc8b51ef5d3b98a682d0fd93f97dee.png

    • Those are facts. Facts aren’t racist, and they don’t care about your feelings.

  • Donna Fann-Boyle

    Andre Billeadeaux is a self proclaimed amateur historian who writes childrens fiction but thinks he’s an expert on what is good for native people.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3beaaf44d1ecc50b7b8f0c7cb83abca14ac65f7eca24a307bacae393d3c3580.png

    • The only person calling him an expert is you, Donna.

  • Donna Fann-Boyle

    Here’s hateful racist post from a member of NAGA .. phttps://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75ffc07a985f1b0d76771635f25cbe5a139340bc21aa538e36e3044ba91dddf9.png