Letter: Irish myth, Illini reality

By The Daily Illini

In response to Jonathan Driscoll’s question “Why don’t they (anti-chief people) take trips across I-74 to Notre Dame to dispute their little fighting leprechaun mascot?” I would like to respond that Jonathan does not understand the entire debate surrounding the Chief. There is considerable difference between Chief Illiniwek and the “little fighting leprechaun mascot” that must be considered. Chief Illiniwek is not a typical mascot; instead, he is an attempt to represent Native Americans, particularly with a Native American war dance. However, the leprechaun comes from Irish mythology. When using a leprechaun, there is no attempt to stereotype or characterize the Irish. While it stems from Irish history, it does not attempt to portray the Irish because a leprechaun is simply a mythological fairy.

Overall, I fail to see the comparison that Jonathan attempts to draw. The Chief is an attempt to represent Native Americans and most importantly offends many people. The leprechaun attempts to represent nothing more than a mythological role of a fairy. Obviously, when looking at such a controversial debate, it is important to understand what drives different sides. Hopefully, those who do not agree with this opinion can at the very least understand what drives the debate of the Chief.

Michael Morrin

senior in LAS