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ERIC Number: EJ764807
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr-5
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5411
Farewell to the Chief
Pember, Mary Annette
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v24 n4 p18-20 Apr 2007
The battle over the use of American Indian names and mascots among college and professional athletic teams has a seldom-told economic backstory. It is more than simple alumni sentimentality. Money, influence and power often play a significant role in decisions regarding the use of these symbols. Paraphernalia bearing the images bring in millions of dollars each year to the institutions. But the names and images have been decried as disrespectful and insensitive to American Indians. And it is the tribes, along with philanthropic, education, professional and civil rights organizations, that are leading the movement to retire the symbols. The National Congress of American Indians, the National Education Association, the NCAA and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights have all voiced their opposition to the mascots. Last year, the NCAA ruled that teams featuring offensive mascots would no longer be able to host postseason tournaments and would be subject to other penalties and restrictions. That rule, combined with the waves of negative publicity the mascots have generated, has led many colleges and universities to shelve the mascots permanently. The most recent and possibly most visible mascot retirement came in February when University of Illinois trustees chose to discontinue the use of the school's mascot, Chief Illiniwek. The circumstances of the Chief's demise shed a glimmer of light on the powerful economic forces at play behind these struggles. To date, four schools have negotiated agreements with local tribal leadership eliciting support for their American Indian-nicknamed teams and mascots: The Catawba College Indians, the Central Michigan University Chippewas, the University of Utah Utes and the Florida State Seminoles. Of the four, FSU is the only one that still maintains a mascot.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Illinois; North Dakota