The mascot debate

#151      
I've been mostly in the "we don't need a mascot" camp for a while, and alternatively the completely ambivalent camp as well. But a recent personal experience kind of changed my perspective a bit.

This week we had a family outing to a Bulls game, including my 5-year-old son who hasn't shown any interest in sports yet. He had a tough time initially with the noise and crowd, but after I pointed out Benny the Bull and he watched his antics for a while, he started to acclimate and feel more comfortable. To my complete surprise, this morphed into a genuine interest in the game, cheering for every Bulls basket, chanting "Defense", all of that. And that's when the simple realization set in. A mascot isn't for me. It isn't for any of you. It's not for anyone who reads this board. It's for the kids. And if having some goofy mascot helps foster Illini fandom for a new generation, what's the harm in that? I think we take this stuff way too seriously sometimes. It's a game after all. It's supposed to be fun.
It is supposed to be fun. However it is not fun to see a woke administration trying to move on from a hallowed tradition. The fans at games still dutifully call out "CHIEF" at the appropriate time after what used to be the Chief's dance. This is not fun... This is empty and sad... You have yourselves at the University Of Illinois Admin to blame. I do blame you!
 
#152      
It is supposed to be fun. However it is not fun to see a woke administration trying to move on from a hallowed tradition. The fans at games still dutifully call out "CHIEF" at the appropriate time after what used to be the Chief's dance. This is not fun... This is empty and sad... You have yourselves at the University Of Illinois Admin to blame. I do blame you!
Tons of sports teams manage to create a fun atmosphere without Native American imagery. Maybe we should do the same. Maybe some kind of fun character for the enjoyment of kids could help? 🤷‍♂️
 
#153      

Ransom Stoddard

Ordained Dudeist Priest
Bloomington, IL
It is supposed to be fun. However it is not fun to see a woke administration trying to move on from a hallowed tradition. The fans at games still dutifully call out "CHIEF" at the appropriate time after what used to be the Chief's dance. This is not fun... This is empty and sad... You have yourselves at the University Of Illinois Admin to blame. I do blame you!
At the risk of being called "woke..." (which I'm not, but YMMV), and I was a huge lover of Chief and still call out Chief during 3 in 1...

If the Chief had never existed prior to 2023, and someone proposed "let's put a non-Native American in an outfit that isn't authentic to the tribe they're claiming relation to, and do a non-authentic dance to some non-authentic music, and don't have the participation of any tribe, but then let's claim that we're honoring....something..." Do you really think that's going to gain even the slightest traction?

I've posted it before--The indigenous community doesn't need the help of non-indigenous to honor their heritage.
 
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#154      
At the risk of being called "woke..." (which I'm not, but YMMV), and I was a huge lover of Chief and still call out Chief during 3 in 1...

If the Chief had never existed prior to 2023, and someone proposed "let's put a non-Native American in an outfit that isn't authentic to the tribe they're claiming relation to, and do a non-authentic dance to some non-authentic music, and don't have the participation of any tribe, but then let's claim that we're honoring....something..." Do you really think that's going to gain even the slightest traction?

I've posted it before--The indigenous community doesn't need the help of non-indigenous to honor their heritage.
Wouldn't it be awesome though to do something authentic that would honor their heritage rather than acting as though they don't exist?
 
#155      
I missed the Chief. First Illini game I ever attended without The Chief. A big loss. I loved that tradition. I remember when Fred Cash was Chief in the ‘60s. He was also on the team and had to sneak into the locker room the change right before halftime and then come back out late after he performed and put his fb uniform back on.He always got cheered for as he left and came back.
Such an honorable tradition! Like shooting off the cannon!

Anyone remember Jon Wright?
John Wright? 1, 2 or 3? All played for Illinois.
 
#156      
Wouldn't it be awesome though to do something authentic that would honor their heritage rather than acting as though they don't exist?
What, like increasing funding to the American Indian Studies department and establishing a world class museum focused on tribes indigenous to the American Midwest? I agree, that would be awesome!
 
#157      

Ransom Stoddard

Ordained Dudeist Priest
Bloomington, IL
Wouldn't it be awesome though to do something authentic that would honor their heritage rather than acting as though they don't exist?
How is the lack of a non-authentic representation acting like "they" don't exist? I'll say it again--indigenous peoples don't need non-indigenous folks to honor their heritage, they can do it just fine themselves. They know that they exist and they don't need anyone else's acknowledgement to do so.

And FWIW, the "something authentic" ship sailed sometime in the 70's or 80's, which was already decades past the expiration date on creating a partnership with the Peoria. Here's how it was done correctly.
 
#158      
John Wright? 1, 2 or 3? All played for Illinois.
1 was Bob, not John. I think they are the only 3 generation Illini football family. Bob also coached the track team for about ten years.
 
#159      

IlliniKat91

Chicago, IL
How is the lack of a non-authentic representation acting like "they" don't exist? I'll say it again--indigenous peoples don't need non-indigenous folks to honor their heritage, they can do it just fine themselves. They know that they exist and they don't need anyone else's acknowledgement to do so.

And FWIW, the "something authentic" ship sailed sometime in the 70's or 80's, which was already decades past the expiration date on creating a partnership with the Peoria. Here's how it was done correctly.
IIRC something similar was rolled out shortly after I graduated in 2009. The Council of Chiefs met with what remained of the Peoria and put together a deal that would include requiring students (I think all students, not just student-athletes) to take a Native American Studies course as part of their gen eds, create a pipeline for Peoria students who wanted to attend Illinois, and would require a Native American student to portray the Chief without doing the 3-in-1 dance. The Chancellor at the time refused to meet or discuss it.

Now, I'm with @the juiceman cometh and @Ransom Stoddard . I was a huge Chief fan while I was on campus from 05-09. I still have the apparel and I certainly don't mind the imagery given my avatar. But it's time to let it go. The Chief just isn't coming back. It can be respected as a part of our history while moving forward with something new.

I still don't love the kingfisher idea (it takes too long to explain for it to make much sense IMO), but if the university could come up with something entertaining that would pull kids in and create the next generation of fans, count me in.
 
#161      

Govoner Vaugn Fan

New Orleans
IIRC something similar was rolled out shortly after I graduated in 2009. The Council of Chiefs met with what remained of the Peoria and put together a deal that would include requiring students (I think all students, not just student-athletes) to take a Native American Studies course as part of their gen eds, create a pipeline for Peoria students who wanted to attend Illinois, and would require a Native American student to portray the Chief without doing the 3-in-1 dance. The Chancellor at the time refused to meet or discuss it.

Now, I'm with @the juiceman cometh and @Ransom Stoddard . I was a huge Chief fan while I was on campus from 05-09. I still have the apparel and I certainly don't mind the imagery given my avatar. But it's time to let it go. The Chief just isn't coming back. It can be respected as a part of our history while moving forward with something new.

I still don't love the kingfisher idea (it takes too long to explain for it to make much sense IMO), but if the university could come up with something entertaining that would pull kids in and create the next generation of fans, count me in.
I'm kind or torn between the "13 lined ground Squirrel" and the "Norway Rats". Not sure about the cheers, though. "GO 13- LINED GROUND SQUIRRELS" Seems a bit awkward.
 
#162      
How is the lack of a non-authentic representation acting like "they" don't exist? I'll say it again--indigenous peoples don't need non-indigenous folks to honor their heritage, they can do it just fine themselves. They know that they exist and they don't need anyone else's acknowledgement to do so.

And FWIW, the "something authentic" ship sailed sometime in the 70's or 80's, which was already decades past the expiration date on creating a partnership with the Peoria. Here's how it was done correctly.
Except they really do need the support of non-indigenous people. Native Americans are the most underprivileged people in our society. They've literally been swept off into a corner and we continue to take steps to ensure they stay out of sight and out of mind.

No, I'm not claiming that bringing back the Chief is the answer to their plight, but sport is arguably the biggest, most visible, most influential platform in the United States and it is certainly capable of doing good for the Native American community if done correctly.

And while the Chief does honor the heritage of Native people, I think he also helps to acknowledge the heritage of this land- The land upon which our University sits and the land upon which many of us have made our homes. As someone who has called Illinois home for nearly my whole life, I've always been drawn to its Native American past. If you spend time in the woods, fields, or waterways of Illinois, the echoes of that past can ring very loud. Knowing that I could be walking in the same steps as the Native Americans before me has always filled me with a certain pride despite having minimal Native American heritage of my own.

I guess my point is that the Native American story is not just theirs to care about. No man is an island.
 
#163      

IlliniKat91

Chicago, IL
Except they really do need the support of non-indigenous people. Native Americans are the most underprivileged people in our society. They've literally been swept off into a corner and we continue to take steps to ensure they stay out of sight and out of mind.

No, I'm not claiming that bringing back the Chief is the answer to their plight, but sport is arguably the biggest, most visible, most influential platform in the United States and it is certainly capable of doing good for the Native American community if done correctly.

And while the Chief does honor the heritage of Native people, I think he also helps to acknowledge the heritage of this land- The land upon which our University sits and the land upon which many of us have made our homes. As someone who has called Illinois home for nearly my whole life, I've always been drawn to its Native American past. If you spend time in the woods, fields, or waterways of Illinois, the echoes of that past can ring very loud. Knowing that I could be walking in the same steps as the Native Americans before me has always filled me with a certain pride despite having minimal Native American heritage of my own.

I guess my point is that the Native American story is not just theirs to care about. No man is an island.
But everyone gets to define their story on their terms. When non-Native folks take the lead on defining the story, that's where the issue comes in. If Native Americans were pushing for the return of the Chief, that'd be different, but they're not. They didn't even want to say anything when the Chief was on his way out. That silence should speak volumes about how they feel about it.
 
#164      

KBLEE

Montgomery, IL
But everyone gets to define their story on their terms. When non-Native folks take the lead on defining the story, that's where the issue comes in. If Native Americans were pushing for the return of the Chief, that'd be different, but they're not. They didn't even want to say anything when the Chief was on his way out. That silence should speak volumes about how they feel about it.

It was non-Native folks who got the Chief removed in the first place.
 
#165      

3. Colonel Kernel: A living, breathing musclebound corn cob mascot is probably better suited for Nebraska than Illinois, but that's not what lands this in my bottom three. The clincher is that it's clearly drawn on the back of a piece of scratch paper. Whatever the winning logo will be, I probably won't be able to read writing bleeding through the other side of the paper.


A student proposed this in 2013, and I still laugh out loud for its stupidity!
 
#166      
But everyone gets to define their story on their terms. When non-Native folks take the lead on defining the story, that's where the issue comes in. If Native Americans were pushing for the return of the Chief, that'd be different, but they're not. They didn't even want to say anything when the Chief was on his way out. That silence should speak volumes about how they feel about it.
It's not as though Native Americans are a homogeneous group and speak with one voice. Some oppose the Chief, while others support him.
 
#167      
Have you ever heard of the Orange and Blue Bird? Probably not. That was a disaster of an attempt to foist a manufactured mascot on the university that was such a disaster that not even a picture of the O-B Bird exists. I wish it did. Those who want a "goofy" mascot for the University of Illinois should know what happened before.

Yes, it was long ago, and I graduated from Illinois more than a decade before the O-B Bird was (literally) trotted out. But I don't believe its part of the University of Illinois' identity to have anuything goofy. Penn State has its saggy baggy lion, Minnesota has its grinning rodent, and Ohio State has that...nut. If anything contrived as those, perhaps as right as they may be for those institutions, were inflicted on Illinois, I expect the result would be the same as it was for the O-B Bird. At least I hope it would, because if it were embraced, the University of Illinois would have lost all respect for itself.


I have always told people we never had a mascot. I'm happy to stand corrected.

I was a freshman in '82, and confess that I have no memory of this foul foul.
 
#168      

IlliniKat91

Chicago, IL
It's not as though Native Americans are a homogeneous group and speak with one voice. Some oppose the Chief, while others support him.
True. But the ones in his defense weren't speaking loudly enough at the time, which to me indicates it wasn't top priority for them.

We're over a decade after the fact. It isn't likely to change now.
 
#169      
IIRC something similar was rolled out shortly after I graduated in 2009. The Council of Chiefs met with what remained of the Peoria and put together a deal that would include requiring students (I think all students, not just student-athletes) to take a Native American Studies course as part of their gen eds, create a pipeline for Peoria students who wanted to attend Illinois, and would require a Native American student to portray the Chief without doing the 3-in-1 dance. The Chancellor at the time refused to meet or discuss it.

Now, I'm with @the juiceman cometh and @Ransom Stoddard . I was a huge Chief fan while I was on campus from 05-09. I still have the apparel and I certainly don't mind the imagery given my avatar. But it's time to let it go. The Chief just isn't coming back. It can be respected as a part of our history while moving forward with something new.

I still don't love the kingfisher idea (it takes too long to explain for it to make much sense IMO), but if the university could come up with something entertaining that would pull kids in and create the next generation of fans, count me in.
Does anyone really think a mascot would help pull in more fans?
 
#170      

SKane

Tennessee
How about a prize bull? It could come out at halftime and rampage around the football field.

As a bonus, all of the songs that use "chief" could be replaced with "beef."

We could even have Beef Illiniwek.

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#174      

bdutts

Houston, Texas

3. Colonel Kernel: A living, breathing musclebound corn cob mascot is probably better suited for Nebraska than Illinois, but that's not what lands this in my bottom three. The clincher is that it's clearly drawn on the back of a piece of scratch paper. Whatever the winning logo will be, I probably won't be able to read writing bleeding through the other side of the paper.


A student proposed this in 2013, and I still laugh out loud for its stupidity!
Screen_Shot_2022-07-12_at_2.02.22_PM.jpg
 
#175      

Ryllini

Lombard
If we can't have The Chief then I'm all for a soldier. March him out there and give me the War Chant back. To the day I can't get enough of it. I'm non musical and figured it out on the piano. Anytime I see a piano, I pound those ivories.