Native American Mascot Brings Controversy to Illinois Basketball

April 6, 2004


On April 6, 2004 reported, "The plan for the University of Illinois and University of Oregon to meet on the basketball court for the next two seasons is intensifying a bitter debate over Illinois' divisive mascot. An editorial in the UO student newspaper brought the Chief Illiniwek controversy to the forefront in Oregon. Since then, talk radio has picked up the issue; angry reactions have erupted across the country; and renewed attention has been drawn to the inability of the Urbana-Champaign campus to give up a 78-year-old mythical character widely viewed as demeaning to Native Americans... Board staff said trustees stand behind the mascot, which is played by a white male student decked out in the regalia of an Oglala Lakota chief."