Letter: BOT draft is laughable

After reading a draft of the Board of Trustees’ latest proposed resolution -the disingenuously named “Policy to preserve and recognize the state’s American Indian Heritage” – I couldn’t help but admire the author’s nerve.

Usually, when someone claims to be objective and fair, they at least put a little effort into making their actions appear to be somewhat reasonable and even-handed.

But this thing doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

Once you remove all the excess verbiage from the thing (and it does go on for a bit), you are left with a very simple, straightforward statement: Even though we said we wanted to arrive at a consensus, we want to be absolutely sure before we start working on one that you know that we didn’t mean we’d actually be willing to change anything.

This resolution is pure nonsense.

If it is approved, what is left for anyone to come to a consensus about? Whether the Chief’s head logo is depicted full face or in profile? How many feathers he wears?

The real point of this whole controversy is, and always has been, whether it’s acceptable for the University to use American Indian imagery for entertainment or profit.

Is it acceptable for the dominant culture to take whatever it wants from a minority group – any minority group – and use it in any way it wants, simply because it can?

What the point is not – though this clearly would seem to be what the board wants to limit the discussion to – is what sort of native imagery is used, how authentic the Chief’s portrayal is (or at least how much they are able to make it appear to be to people who know nothing about real indigenous culture), what anyone’s intentions are or how popular the whole thing is.

We’ve wasted years arguing about these and similar tangential subjects simply because too few people were willing to confront the real issues involved, and if we continue on talking about these things, we’ll do no more to advance discussion of the real issue than this new resolution does to help us arrive at this supposed consensus resolution we’ve been hearing so much about.

Thomas Garza

Champaign resident