Letter: Long live the Chief

I am writing to appeal to the President and Board of Trustees, to reject the ill-conceived edict from the NCAA regarding Chief Illiniwek and the Fighting Illini. A Sports Illustrated poll found over 80 percent of the Native Americans approve of the use of Indians as mascots or campus monikers. It is clear that Governor Jeb Bush and Florida politicians have weighed in heavily on the ridiculous ruling of the NCAA regarding Florida State. I would only hope that Illinois politicians reflect the overwhelming sentiment of the public, and electronic and print journalists nationally who have condemned the NCAA’s irrational and ill conceived edict.

My suggestion is that in the wake of the many global conflicts that deserve attention, if the political correctness police see the Chief issue as a serious one, they persuade President Bush to change the name of the Washington Redskins and have Mayor Daley remove the Blackhawks from Chicago hockey. Once this is done, President Myles Brand of the NCAA, President Bush and Mayor Daley, will truly have initiated what Brand calls a “teaching moment.” Then they can notify Chief Illiniwek and the Illini nation that once again we are an endangered species.

Until then, long live the Illini tradition which is a proud tribute to our state’s distinguished Native American history.

Dr. Gregory Payne

university alumnus

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