University of Illinois panel suggests adopting new mascot

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The university dropped Chief Illiniwek as mascot in 2007. | Darrell Hoemann/AP Photo-The News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois report suggests that the school consider adopting a new sports mascot to help quell ongoing turmoil over the 2007 decision to do away with its longtime Chief Illiniwek portrayal.

The report by a group of university administrators released Thursday also proposes greater campus education about Native American history and imagery, including presentations on why the use of Illiniwek is inappropriate.

Campus Chancellor Robert Jones tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that officials are working on a historical commemoration of the mascot and strengthening ties with American Indian tribes. Jones also says the chief is “part of our history” and not coming back.

Chief Illiniwek had been portrayed since 1926 by a student in a buckskin costume who danced at games. Many American Indians found the portrayal offensive.

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