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Native American House/American Indian Studies Statement on 2nd NCAA Appeal

February 3, 2006

The Native American House and American Indian Studies faculty, staff, and community are disappointed by the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees' decision to file a second appeal that rejects the NCAA ruling concerning the mascot, 'chief illiniwek.' This SECOND appeal is indicative of the types of disingenuous stalling tactics that the BOT has been actively engaging in for more than fifteen years. Instead of engaging in real efforts and dialogue with the NAH and AIS faculty, staff, student, and community at UIUC, the BOT and campus administration continue to make closed door decisions.

Further we are appalled by the university's claim in this most recent appeal that the NCAA’s decision allowing it to retain "Fighting Illini" "provided solace to hundreds of thousands of students, alumni and friends of the university."

Let us speak clearly: This statement is shameful. The university's tradition of endorsing racial stereotypes and identity theft brings no solace to us, our students, our colleagues, or to millions of American Indians and their friends. The university's baseless overstatement only adds to the hostile environment already created by the phony dancing chief and his supporters.

We continue to oppose the use of the Chief Illiniwek mascot and the term "Fighting Illini" in association with any activity of this distinguished university. Associating this non-Indian caricature and this appropriation of American Indian identity is morally indefensible and educationally irresponsible.