Examples of Native American Mascots
Chief Illiniwek has proudly and majestically represented the University and the State for almost 80 years.
Since 1998, the Foundation has sought to utilize the presence of Chief Illiniwek to promote greater
education and awareness of American Indian people, culture , tradition, and history to the students, alumni, and friends of
ü It has been claimed that the use of any Native American tribal name is abusive
to some individuals. However, numerous towns, states, villages, regions, and landmarks retain Native American names, many
of which were originally chosen to honor the inhabitants that originally settled the areas.
The term "Illiniwek" refers to "the complete
human being-the strong, agile human body; the unfettered human intellect; the indomitable human spirit."
Since the tradition's inception in 1926,
there has been considerable support for the Chief by Native American leaders, including several that trace their lineage to
the original Illini tribes.
For 75 years, the Chief has been the symbol
of the spirit of a great university and of our intercollegiate athletic teams, and as such is loved by the people of Illinois. The University considers
the symbol to be dignified and has treated it with respect. His ceremonial dance is performed with grace and beauty.
Chief Illiniwek embodies the attributes
valued by alumni, students, and friends of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The tradition of the Chief is a
link to our great past, a tangible symbol of an intangible spirit, filled with qualities to which a person of any background
can aspire: goodness, strength, bravery, truthfulness, courage, and dignity.
The Chief Illiniwek tradition can be transformed
into an educational asset, to both the University and to the Native American community. Elevating the symbol of Chief Illiniwek
provides an opportunity for the University to promote the attributes that have come to be identified with this tradition.