Try 1 month for 99¢

I am writing about your Nov. 19 editorial stating that, unlike the Florida State University's relationship with the Seminoles, the University of Illinois has no Illini tribe to consult with about the use of the Chief Illiniwek mascot. Clearly you did not look into this matter very much.

First, the Illini were not a tribe but a confederacy of tribes, consisting of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Cahokia and Tamaroa.

Second, the Peoria tribe does indeed exist today, with headquarters in Miami, Okla. They consist of descendants of the original Illini groups, predominantly the Peoria and the Kaskaskia, together with the closely related Wea and Piankeshaw.

Moreover, the Peoria return to our area regularly for the intertribal powwow held in their honor since 1992 in Peoria.

I do not know if the University of Illinois has contacted the Peoria about their views on the mascot issue; if not, they should clearly do so and try to work out a way to honor the Illini in a way that the Peoria would want.

To my eyes, the mascot Chief Illiniwek does not even dress like the historical photographs I have seen of members of the Illini groups, but instead is dressed like a stereotypical "Indian chief" from the Great Plains area.

I doubt that there has been much effort to portray an Illini chief accurately, let alone in a manner recommended by the existing Peoria tribe.

I have found your entire editorial position about the controversy surrounding the Chief Illiniwek mascot not very insightful.

Many non-Native Americans do not understand Native American objections to the use of "Indian" mascots. It would be useful if The Pantagraph tried to seek out and understand these views in order to help your readers understand them as well rather than simply dismissing them.

Linda L. Giles



Load comments