Native American perspective

By Ken Moon

While I have never been a student of U of I, have been a student of several other universities, and am a status Native American. I have recently moved to the Illinois area, from PA, and before that from Canada.

As a member of the group that is now supposedly being offended by Illiniwek, believe I have a more substantial stake, and an opinion possibly a little more “valid” towards this ruling.

Firstly I don’t agree that is offensive. Quite the contrary, we are a dying race of people, a race that is being bred into extinction. This I believe is one more step in the cultural genocide, that the federal government of long ago wanted for my people. I feel that the entire nation is becoming so weak, that it believes that a historical figure, offends us. It doesn’t The purpose of the (Chief) is for all people belonging to that specific, has a single point to rally behind. It gives that group a focal point to know they belong to something larger then themselves, something to hopefully draw strength from, and an insight to why we are here, and why we fight on.

This doesn’t offend me. This makes me proud and honored to say that “Yes I am Native American” and since your team/school has chosen a representative of my race to be put as the outward face of your institution; It say a lot about those who came before you, to realize the proud and fierce competitors the Native American can be.

With this said, I believe that we should hold a rally for my people, and ask them, if they hold this opinion that I do.

I am beginning to find that society as a whole now is acting like a bunch of scared little children, so afraid to state an opinion, so scared to celebrate their own diversity, so afraid to say that “I may not be of a race being represented, but I can identify who they were” I would love to debate this with anyone willing to truly open themselves up for a debate on this issue.

The NCAA, while having a lot to work to do in so many different areas, I believe that they don’t want to hurt anyone’s fragile sensibilities. I say to hell with that. They never asked me, or anyone of any group of natives that I know, to see if your mascot and school symbol offended me. So who did they ask? Frankly I don’t care if “white” people are offended by Illiniwek … Until you are a card carrying status Native, your opinion, while it has inherent value, should really be kept to your self.

Ken Moon