Chief's dance at high school game called off

Chief's dance at high school game called off

What's your take? Tell us here

When Tuscola announced that Chief Illiniwek would dance at halftime of Friday's boys' basketball game against Sullivan, officials seemed confident it would go over well. 

“A lot of stuff we do here revolves around Warrior pride,” athletic director Ryan Hornaday said in late December. “This is a great thing for our school: a lot of love and pride and respect. We don’t see this in a negative light at all.”

But the performance has been canceled, the school district sending out the notice via Twitter on Sunday night.

Reached this morning, Hornaday referred all questions to the district's social media site. He said the performance will not be rescheduled.


The University of Illinois retired the Chief after his dance on Feb. 21, 2007. But he still performs at events not affiliated with the UI through the Council of Chiefs, a group of UI alumni who served as Chief Illiniwek. 

Hornaday pursued the idea after he was told of the Chief’s wild reception at a Paris High basketball game last season. 

“A no-brainer,” he said in December. “So much of the population of our town either graduated from the U of I or are diehard Illini fans. I figured if someone else can do it, we have to.”

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Joe American wrote on January 05, 2015 at 8:01 am

Yet another local story whose trail needs to be followed very, very closely.

Which lefty stuck their nose into this one?

loopillini wrote on January 05, 2015 at 11:01 am

It seems the anti-Chief crowd got whipped up into a seething frenzy, over this Chief Illiniwek event, by the editor of an alternative news website The link to the blog post, written by Seth Fein, is here:


Schocker wrote on January 08, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Seth did a great job spreading awareness and getting results.  The pro-Chief crowd should thank him as appearing at a Warrior-Redskin game is hardly good for the legacy of pride, honor and respect that those loyal to him constantly allege.

Further - this news source is only "alternative" in the sense as they aren't afraid to talk about the world as it should be instead of just pandering to the local majority.  So many national media sources don't even publish the word Redskin any more, Congress wants to abolish it, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans have said that this is hurtful to them and their future generations, and the rest of the nation looks at Central Illinois as though it 50 years behind the times of cultural understanding and civil rights.

Chicago Sports Radio summed this up last week -

cgirl wrote on January 05, 2015 at 11:01 am

Why would you have a mascot from another school come to your game? And why would you have what many consider a racist mascot come? This seems like an all around bad idea...

And why do schools even have mascots anymore?

LincolnLounger wrote on January 06, 2015 at 1:01 pm

And why do schools compete against each other?  And why are there grades?  Competition hurts people's feelings!  Everyone should get a trophy for participation, blah blah blah.

We are sending out a generation of kids who cannot deal with adversity.  Heaven help them and society from attitudes like this.

cgirl wrote on January 06, 2015 at 2:01 pm

I love how you put words in my mouth and then complain about what I'm saying. My point was: why can't it just be the Tuscola sport team against the Sullivan sports team?

sneezingdog wrote on January 05, 2015 at 11:01 am
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Watch this:

Then this:

The ask yourslf whethe white men in red face dancing for the entertainment of a crowd is any different than the white men in black face playing music for the entertainment of a crowd. That's the cultural context of illiniwak.


Tom Napier wrote on January 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Sneezingdog has posted essentially the same message with three articles on the subject. I'll respond to them collectively, once, if you all don't mind.


First, his use of the term “illiniwak” is offensive. It’s immature, although not uncommon with Chief opponents. Other posters have used "Chief Wacko-Wacko" and "Retired Batman." More importantly though, it’s disrespectful to a specific identity (tribe, confederation) of Native Americans. It suggests these remarks are more about attacking others than respect for people.


Four times he cites the oft-cited “In Whose Honor.” Don’t think for a minute this production represents Native Americans as a race or culture. Jay Rosenstein knows very well (or certainly should know, unless he's in denial too) that his opinion is not universally shared among Native Americans. Mr. Rosenstein recently appeared on a WDWS radio interview with Amanda Blackhorse, a Native activist from the Red Mesa Arizona community, and leader of the anti-Washington Redskins protest. The Red Mesa High School name is " Redskins." According to the Washington Post “most in the Red Mesa community dismiss Blackhorse’s cause, or barely know who she is.” Oddly enough, neither Rosenstein nor Blackhorse mentioned anything about the sentiment toward her within her own community. Perhaps Sneezingdog should also include as recommended reading.


I mentored a young lady of Oklahoma Cherokee ancestry last summer on an intern rotation assignment. She told me about the Oklahoma State Flag, and its use of Native and European symbols to unite peoples of both origins. I explained the objection of some within the University of Illinois community to The Chief. I wish I could type the “pfffffftt” sound she made as a dismissive response to these … objectors … as they know nothing about Native American affairs. I have other endorsements of Chief Illiniwek by Native Americans I’d be happy to share, if you’re interested.


Sneezingdog may be unaware of the Native American contribution to the development of the Chief Illiniwek tradition in choreographing the original dance and designing, fabricating, and maintaining the Regalia over the decades, or of Frank Fools Crow’s participation with the Chief Illiniwek tradition. He may be unaware the Peoria Tribal Council supported the Chief Illiniwek tradition over the years. Their recent position to object to The Chief was not unanimous, being decided by only one vote.


Sneezingdog may also be unaware that San Diego State University convened a study of their Aztec identity by Native American and Mesoamerican scholars. This resulted in the restoration of their Aztec Warrior in a historically correct fashion, having obtained the consensus of the entire SDSU community. Unlike the UI administration, the SDSU administration had the courage to resolve this divisive issue instead of ignoring it and letting it fester.


In one of Sneezingdog's other posts he asked "Why hasn't this red faced minstral (sic) also faded into history?" Perhaps it’s because the vast majority of people in the University of Illinois community are not racists and continue to respect Native Americans, as they have for a long time. The Chief Illiniwek tradition endures. Honorable values endure, despite the efforts of a small, dogmatic, heavy-handed, and largely uninformed minority to destroy them. He advised “I think the answers may be shocking to you.” I hope he's realistic enough that my answer doesn’t shock him, nor does the fact that just because he says we're racists doesn't mean we are.


Sneezingdog objects to a non-Native portraying Chief Illiniwek. If so, does he object to following? To not object would be ... let’s just say, inconsistent: Tom Hanks portraying a gay man in the movie “Philadelphia;” Neil Patrick Harris portraying a straight man in the movie “Gone Girl;” Ed Asner (a Jewish man) portraying Santa Clause in the movie “Elf;” Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand (Jewish entertainers) publishing Christmas albums; Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson portraying a Catholic priest and nun, respectively, in the Father Dowling Mysteries TV show; Gregory Peck portraying Monsignor O'Flaherty in the movie “The Scarlet and the Black;” Non-Native students portraying Chief Osceola for Florida State; Non-Turkish students portraying Tommy the Trojan for Southern Cal; Non-Hellenic students portraying Sparty the Spartan for Michigan State; A leprechaun portraying a drunken Irishman for Notre Dame; UI Professor Emeritus Stephen Kaufman (a white man) speaking on behalf of Native Americans by opposing Chief Illiniwek, while violating NCAA regulations about contact with prospective student athletes; former Indiana University and NCAA President Myles Brand (another white man) for acting on behalf of Native Americans by banning Chief Illiniwek, but not changing IU's nickname, despite “hoosier” being a cultural pejorative; former Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones (a black man) opposing Chief Illiniwek on behalf of Native Americans while leveraging corrupt politicians on the UI Board of Trustees, violating open meeting rules, and threatening to cut UI funding if Chief Illiniwek tradition was allowed to continue; and so forth and so forth. Get the point?


Sneezingdog asked whether white men in "red face" is different than white men in black face. If he sincerely and honestly objects to Chief Illiniwek, as opposed to merely being a bandwagon jumper, he should be knowledgeable about the issue, all sides of the issue, those with which he agrees and those with which he disagrees. If he really has to ask this question, he's apparently not knowledgeable about the issue. I suggest he reads The Chief Illiniwek Dialogue, Intent and Tradition vs. Reaction and History A REPORT TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS by Louis B. Garippo. It can be found at And, he should include this link with his future posts as well.


Otherwise, he's not adding anything to the conversation.

jmar48 wrote on January 05, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Don't believe I have ever seen the Chief perform in "red face." The black face caracitures you speak of where certainly shameful, no argument there, but comparing the Chief to that is more than a bit of a stretch to be fair. In my view, the Chief always conducted his appearances with pride and professionalism and never presented as a caraciture. Lighten can disagree with the Chief and what he stands for without jumping the shark.

sneezingdog wrote on January 05, 2015 at 7:01 pm
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@DaisyJ, when you refer to "left wing goofs" you come across as someone who is not thinking at all, which is a bit of an irony given your comments. Why don't you watch and then present an analysis of it, why it's right or why it's wrong.  Otherwise you add nothing to the conversation.

Mike wrote on January 05, 2015 at 8:01 pm

"Smile Politely" is the most ironic name for an on-line rag if there ever was one. They are ANYTHING but polite. They're angry hipster social justice warriors who simply attempt to yell louder than everyone else. Comment on their site with a slightly-dissenting opinion and they will gang up and shout you down.

If both sides could ever get together and discuss the situation, progress might be made, and we ALL might learn a thing or two about the history behind The Chief and what the intentions were, etc., etc. However the very small, very vocal minority shouts and shouts until they drown out everything else.

The current Chief is part Native American. Why don't you go up to him and call him a racist, yada, yada, yada. Wait? You are calling an Indian a racist for portraying an Indian? Explain that to me, please.

This is political correctness run amok, and people who have NOTHING to do with what goes on in Tuscola causing a problem because they are miserable and they want everyone else to be miserable too. The Chief can no longer perform at University of Illinois events. Please stop trying to shout down freedom of speech everywhere else.

And quit shouting that everyone is racist. Sigh.


Local Yocal wrote on January 06, 2015 at 1:01 pm
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Tuscola aside, the main reason the Indian-type mascot was shut down is because the NCAA said Illinois would be banned from hosting post-season games at its facilities. Money was the reason. Not the vocal majority/minority, or whatever they are.

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on January 06, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Bingo! ..we have a winner.   Money is also the reason why the cries of racism ring a little hollow when you see the Seminoles sell their "dignity" to Florida State Univ......I wonder what the going price for one's dignity is these days?   .....oh, the outrage!

Schocker wrote on January 08, 2015 at 12:01 pm

90% of the overall Seminole nation vehemently oppose the FSU usage.  The Florida Seminole branch - which spawned from the less than 200 Native Americans left in Florida after they were pushed out and relocated to Oklahoma - have made the deal with FSU.  This is a little known and understood piece of the puzzle.  

And, you should know that money is the reason the U of I trustees kept the Chief around as long as they did - afraid to act on the U of I 1998 Senate resolution to retire the Chief because of all of the alums threatening to withhold funds.

Tom Napier wrote on January 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Oh, now Schocker is concerned about the minority misrepresenting the majority.  That's rich!  How about the two UI refernda supporting Chief Illiniwek by overwhelming margins.  For Chief opponents, however, the majority is dismissed as irrevelant.  Gotta love the irony.

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 07, 2015 at 9:01 am

Bring back an elected Board of Trustees and the Chief returns.

Local Yocal wrote on January 08, 2015 at 9:01 am
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Assuming an elected board would sacrifice the money to host post-season play. Better call Rauner and tell him he shouldn't select the new board members. Ever see a politician reliquish power?

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Any idea how much money the school has received from the one, or was it two, post-season tourneys? 

Rex Bradfield wrote on January 08, 2015 at 10:01 am

While listening to them play the "Chief's Song" at the basketball game and watching the "I" on the big screen, I thought would be a great way to pay thanks to all the Trustee members who voted in the dark of the night to ban the Chief.  Why don't we invite those members to stand and be honored in the middle of the court while the song is played.  Have them step forward and raise their hand and receive the acolades of the many anti-chief supporters the crowd.

And to further let them receive their just rewards for a job well done, after the floor presentation, have them walk around the State Farm center B-C isle and personally receive all the hand shakes and back patting from the 1000's of supporters of anti chief ideas.

Why this is such a good idea, it should be published in the paper and on the airwaves so all those supporters can MAKE SURE they get a chance to extend their gratitude to such "out front" individuals.

It would be so much more suitable to have this ceremony in the light of the athletic event, than in the dark of night back room.

Just think of all the hand shakes and back patting they would receive, I for one would love to see it.  Maybe even more than once.  Maybe in front of the football crown.  NOW that would be such a great event.

Schocker wrote on January 08, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The trustee members deserve only the thanks of the pro-Chief crowd as they were responsible for keeping the Chief well beyond what the campus would've and should've done had they not be afraid of losing big donors.  The U of I faculty senate voted (in the bright light of day) back in 1998 to retire the Chief and that would've saved our school and community a whole lot of national scrutiny and ridicule.

This Chicago Sports Radio clip from this week sums up how we are perceived outside of Champaign county -

Schocker wrote on January 08, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Chicago Sports Radio has a bit of a different take on the Chief appearing at the Warrior - Redskin game than our own Central Illinois media has had to offer. Between this and the national outrage and disbelief as published by Deadspin and Forbes, I hold out some hope that local hearts and minds may be opened to reconsidering their position on this matter.

This is worth a three minute listen......

Rex Bradfield wrote on January 08, 2015 at 4:01 pm

This is the same Chicago that is located in the ONLY county to support former Gov. Quinn?  These two radio personalties are someone we should admire and respect, what are their credentials?  And finally, what was the threat the anti-chief individuals used against the school officials?  Research all their personal information and post it on the internet if the Chief appeared?

That type of activity seems to have a familiar ring to it....... didn't it involve North Korea?

Wasn'there a report released by the Government concerning the name Redskins and that report did not find that to be racial and subsequently the professional football team would continue to use that name and logo?

In light of that report and all the recent indisgressions of the NCAA, they would have a very hard time defending the withholding of any revenue from any school, especailly when the professional team in our Capital has an approved name of Redskins.

Remember some of those Trustees who voted in the "Dark of the night" to remove the Chief were also such honorable individuals they were involved in the admissions scandal and when asked to resign because of those abuses, simply refused.  They were being protected by Gov. Blago (and we all know how honorable he was).  If they were right in their decision and it reflected the views of the people from downstate, then standing in front of a crown in the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall) and taking their bows should be without worry.  And if they were oligineous, then the bow might not be what they needed to be doing.

I hope the new Gov. simply appoints responsible Trustees that re-visit the Chief issue and restore the long standing heritage and representation of tribe of people who lived in out state and loved our state long before the NCAA by using a non violent representative of those proud people as a symbol of the spirit and determination of any who attend the University of Illinois..... Go Illini.

Mr Dreamy wrote on January 09, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Rex, after reading that there is no wonder you couldn't beat Prussing. Inclusiveness is a positive: you are a negative.

Tom Napier wrote on January 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm

You'll notice there's no reply from sneezingdog, mr dreamy, or the others to the revelation that the current Chief Illiniwek, Ivan Dosier, is of Native American ancestry.  Their silence speaks volumes.

jsc224 wrote on January 10, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Racism is the belief that another race is inferior.  Thus, to love and admire the power and the beauty of the Chief is the opposite of racism.

            A few years ago, the Martha Graham Dance Company performed at the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa.  One of the dances performed had an Arabian Nights theme.  The dancers wore Arabian costumes and performed dance movements in an Arabian style.  Were these dancers racist bigots?  Was the audience racist and bigoted?  Is the Hancher a racist institution?  Is the University of Iowa a racist institution?  Of course they were not.  The audience merely enjoyed the beauty of the costumes, the music and the dance.  This was art, and we in the audience admired the beauty of the performance and the skill of the dancers and choreographer.

            It's the same with Chief Illiniwek.  The supporters of the Chief merely love and admire the beauty and power of the Chief symbol.  It is not racist or bigoted to love and admire symbols derived from Native American symbols.  It is the opposite of racism.

            It is a vicious dishonest slander to accuse chief supporters of being racist.

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

By the way, the two pompous, know it all blowhards on the sportsradio clip are considered a joke by many sports radio listeners in the Chicago area.

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm

To put the source of Shocker's previous link in context, this link is to their website: