Better solutions needed

I was saddened to hear the politically correct movement that started in this country in the early 1990’s won. I do not think that this movement is particularly good for the American public.

Instead of focusing on things that we have in common, it seeks to divide us by pointing out the things that are different. The Chief was a great tradition at the University of Illinois. The offshoots of it helped fund Indian American studies at the university, and fund scholarships for Indian children among other things. It got us to think and talk about Indian culture and its presence in America today.

Denying that there was an Indian tradition and forcing it undercover is tantamount to denying the development of our country. The simple fact is that there were Chiefs, and they did dance.

To this day, there are dance competitions among tribes. The Chief forces us to remember our history.

Regarding history, from my understanding the real root of the term “Fighting Illini” comes from the troops that fought in World War I. I suspect that the same folks that have trouble with the Chief, would have trouble with the depiction of a doughboy as a mascot. I suspect that the politically correct movement would have trouble with ROTC at Illinois. They do at Harvard. It comes to mind that the movement that seeks to eliminate the Chief, would seek to eliminate a lot of discourse and thought provoking material from academia today.

The Chief was a great tradition. It was one that I looked forward to when I went to U of I games. It was something that was passed down from one generation to another (ever sing the Alma Mater at halftime with someone that graduated in the fifties? You can.) It was something that tied us together. Where does it stop? They got rid of the mascot at Wheaton College, the Crusader, because it was politically incorrect to Muslims. By the way, Wheaton is a Christian school. There were crusaders. At least I read about them in a history book if it has not been amended by the PC crowd. Dartmouth was originally a school dedicated to the education of Indians. They were forced by the PC crowd to change their nickname from “Indians” to “Green”. Perhaps colors will become offensive someday. What about country clubs? There is Seminole in Florida. The mascot of the club is an Indian. How about Shinnecock Hills in New York? Mascot is an Indian.

This does not even start mentioning the professional teams that have Indian mascots.

My cynical gut tells me that the Indians would sell out to the highest bidder like they did for Florida State. In Florida, the NCAA went after FSU, but since the Seminole tribe did not want to hurt its casino business, it allowed FSU to continue using the nickname. Oh, and along with the tomohawk chop, and the Indian on horseback that throws the flaming spear into the ground before the game. Not to mention the spears on the helmets. In fact, the Sioux tribe was exposed trying to extort money out of the University of Illinois in the latest head dress flap. My solution would be to end the tax free nature of Indian businesses. End scholarship money for Indians. End Indian studies at Universities. Let them compete like everyone else with out special earmarks for them.

If the Chief must go, the Chief must go. It seems that we should have bigger fish to fry. Like getting kids educationally qualified to attend a great university like the University of Illinois.

Jeff Carter

Class of 1984