From WILL - News Local/State -

Group Seeks to Resurrect Chief Illiniwek

Chief Illiniwek

In this Feb. 21, 2007 file photo, Chief Illiniwek performs for the last time during an Illinois basketball game at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. (Seth Perlman/AP)

A group that wants the University of Illinois to bring back its former symbol, Chief Illiniwek is asking the U of I to allow the Chief to perform during two campus events a year.

The Council of Chiefs, which represents people who have portrayed the Chief over the years, came up with the plan. It said the Peoria tribe in Oklahoma has been willing to talk about the issue.

But Peoria Chief John Froman said his organization won’t take a stance on the proposal unless the University is on board with it.

“We have had conversations with Chancellor Wise," Froman said. "The University is looking toward the future of the education of the students at the campuses, and accurately representing the diversified cultures on campuses. Not interested in looking in the past, more in the future.”

Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise has maintained her opposition to bringing back the chief.

Over the years, criticism had grown that Chief Illiniwek was offensive to Native Americans, and in 2007, the U of I’s Board of Trustees ended the Chief’s appearances to avoid NCAA sanctions.

Categories: Education, Race/Ethnicity