American Indian Studies faculty and the Native American House community support the March 2007 decision by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to retire the University’s former mascot in name, performance, and symbol.
American Indian Studies and the Native American House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provide places where students, faculty, staff, and community members may increase their knowledge and understanding of the histories of American Indian peoples and their cultures, both past and present. Part of this understanding rests on the ability to critique and set aside images that confine the perception of an entire people to a limited and narrow existence. Stereotypical images, negative or positive, are barriers to understanding, and they miseducate the public about Native Americans.
Therefore, we now call on the board and university officials to fully implement its decision through:
- educating students, staff, and faculty about how and why this decision was reached
- aggressively enforcing its trademark rights to the retired mascot
- and, promptly facilitating the adoption of a new mascot for our campus.