A happy alumnus

By Michael Timble

As a University of Illinois alumnus, I am elated with Chairman Lawrence Eppley’s decision on retiring the Chief.

As a person dedicated to eliminating all vestiges of Native American history and culture from our collective societal memory, this is a historic day. I feel it’s very important to ensure that Native Americans are always portrayed as savage, backwards, drunken brutes, and the Chief has always hampered this goal.

As a proud American of European descent, I think it’s inconvenient for white America to know the truth about the Native American culture – a culture that we so successfully decimated, subjugated and shamed in order to forward our self-centered and materialistic society.

If our modern American society knew that Native Americans were a brave and proud people, whom had a profound respect for life, the land and all the gifts of the Creator, they might be self-conscious about our history. When Americans are uncomfortable, that may lead them to ask questions of their government and perhaps make them unhappy enough that they buy less beer, chips and other stuff.

The Chief was tremendously successful at portraying Native Americans in a positive light, and treating their legacy and culture with respect, so I am very glad he is gone. History and the University of Illinois would be better served by a traditional “wacky” mascot of some sort with an oversized plastic head. The Chief’s retirement is just one big step in forgetting everything we know about Native Americans and keeping Americans happy and ignorant.

Michael Timble

University alumnus