Chief still a dignified tradition

By Kevin Klemm

This letter is in response to the “Anti Chief, pro-Illinois” column. I was greatly disappointed in the author’s lack of knowledge regarding the subject of the Chief. “He yelled ‘Oskee Wow Wow.'” Really? I never heard him do that in the 15 years that I have been attending Illinois sporting events. You also stated that the entertainment factor was “trivial when compared to the opinions of American Indian students.” In a DI article from 2004, it was reported that 30 percent of students were in favor of retiring the Chief. Out of 42,000 students here, .25 percent of them are Native American. I suspect that a great deal of people who oppose the Chief are similar to you: uneducated in what he really stands for, which is a symbol of this University, not a symbol of Native Americans. “It [The Next Dance] will offend the group of people that it attempts to honor.” Unfortunately for the case you are trying to make, he was never intended to honor Native Americans. You also pointed out how the University wanted to move on from this matter.

Yet, on, it is stated that the Chief’s performance is “one of the most dramatic and dignified traditions in college athletics.” Somehow I find it hard to believe that the University suddenly switched its position on this matter after defending the Chief for over 15 years simply because they found it offensive. Did you happen to notice that the University just so happened to let apparel with the offensive Chief on it stick around for quite a while after he was retired? This wasn’t a matter of respect and disrespect; the Chief was retired for money. I would encourage you, Katie, to educate yourself about the Chief’s history. You might learn something.