Barrington sophomore next Chief Illiniwek

Barrington sophomore next Chief Illiniwek

CHAMPAIGN — Bennett Kamps, a sophomore LAS major from Barrington, will be introduced as Chief Illiniwek No. 39 during a news conference Thursday.

Kamps was among three finalists to audition for the iconic role and was selected by a panel of judges that included former Chiefs Steve Raquel (1992), Dan Maloney (2006-08) and Ivan Dozier (2010-15).

Kamps’ term will run through graduation.

Omar Cruz Aranda of Chicago will serve as the new assistant Chief, appearing in tandem with or in place of Kamps at some events.

He succeeds Peoria’s Katie Birkel, who served as assistant Chief from 2010-13.

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RPeterE wrote on January 20, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I thought Chief Illiniwek was abolished, unsanctioned, forbidden?? Where does he appear?
Not on the court or on the field in basketball or football games . . . so where and sponsored by whom? 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on January 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm
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... and where was the news conference?

CarlWinslow wrote on January 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm

The University discontinued their use of the Chief, although they retain the trademarked rights. The outgoing Chief, Ivan Dozier, was chosen by "Students For Chief Illiniwek", an RSO on campus. Insofar as where he appears, an article from the Daily Illini in November notes:

"As the unofficial Chief, Dozier makes appearances in the regalia in the stands at football games and at events like the Homecoming Parade. He was even invited to the funeral of a C-U local whose dying wish was that the “Three-in-One” be played and everyone yell “Chief” at her service. He also works with the Council of Chiefs, made up of past Chief portrayers, to think of ways to bring the tradition back officially. But after five years as the Chief, Dozier’s term is coming to an end — he is graduating in December. This means he has to choose a new person to continue its 89-year history."

As much as they might like to police actions that trigger unpleasant thoughts in the fragile minds of their student body, the University cannot prevent individuals from being the Chief on private property; I find it surprising they have not banned his appearance at sanctioned event like football games on University property--or if he is banned, they apparently aren't enforcing it. I recall being at a football game 3-4 years ago where he appeared in the horseshoe and slowly walked around for a while--I do not recall seeing him being escorted off by security...


spangwurfelt wrote on January 20, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Hilarious and delusional.

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 22, 2016 at 8:01 am

Three words - and they describe this perfectly. I wish I could "like" your post.

Moonpie wrote on January 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm

What? I thought they were finally rid of the Dancin' Injun.


Some conservatives just can't let go of their beloved institutional racism. Chief Cheerleader Tate is no doubt proud.

PSL wrote on January 21, 2016 at 9:01 am

College is a great experience for many young adults. For the first time in their lives they have the freedom to explore their interests how and when they want. Some students dive into music, others into charity work, and still others into intramural sports. For Bennett, this freedom means playing dress-up in costumes and gyrating around as people clap for him. Not my idea of a fun time, but have fun young man!

SEMOIllini wrote on January 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

 Why the hate Moonpie?  On everything!!!!!!  

townsend1306 wrote on January 21, 2016 at 11:01 am

That the 1st thing I have ever agreed with moonpie !!! Like I have said before what top player in football or basketball would want to come to a school with a " DANCING INJUN"  Not my words!!! times have and are changing,  All I want to know is how come their is NO ILLINI INDIANS ON SCHOLARSHIP ? a lease Florida State can do that !!!


Illiniwek222 wrote on January 21, 2016 at 11:01 am

Congrats to Mr. Kamps for his role in continuing a time honored tradition.

STM wrote on January 21, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Does he dance at bachelorette parties?

illiniorange wrote on January 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

I am all for the Chief, but not as another white guy from the suburbs. He or she must be Native American AND given a full scholarship -- that is the only Win-Win way to get the Tradition back. A Win for the school AND most of all, a Win for the Native American community.

PSL wrote on January 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm

That's an interesting thought. Unfortunately, the chief is about tradition (people are always going on and on about the tradition), and the tradition is for a white guy to dress up in Native American clothing and dance around for other white people. So in that sense this kid is a very good choice.

spangwurfelt wrote on January 25, 2016 at 7:01 am

That's really it. When the Chief supporters go on about tradition, it's not Native American tradition, but white-boy-from-the-burbs-dressed-in-the-wrong-tribe's-suit-while-dancing-to-faux-"Indian"-music-in-faux-"Indian"-face-paint tradition. I think the only way they could make it WASP-ier is to demand all candidates are named either "Bob" or "Webber."

BruckJr wrote on January 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Ivan Dozier is of Cherokee descent.

PSL wrote on January 27, 2016 at 7:01 pm

True. That was a real break from the tradition of portrayals by people with no NA ancestry.

PSL wrote on January 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm

whoops double post

Mudhoney wrote on January 22, 2016 at 10:01 am

I could be wrong but to my knowledge there are no Illini tribe left on the face of the earth.  If there were and one was a student at the U of I then I would say sure, he should be Chief if so desired .  But there isn't, so why give it to any ol' Native American .  I say the Chief should be open to all races.  If it must go to a Native American isn't that racism in and of itself?

mgd wrote on January 23, 2016 at 1:01 pm


This topic will never die. Amazing and clueless. Can we ever change the subject? (But I DO like the dance)..........................

Mary Gates DeRosier

chief21 wrote on January 25, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Why can't we rent FLorida State's Chief for our football/basketball games? He would have to leave the horse at home for basketball games, but since he would not technically be "Chief Illiniwek", and NCAA doesn't seem to have a problem with "their" would be a win/win for Illinois.

PSL wrote on January 26, 2016 at 12:01 am

Another brilliant idea from the minds that brought you "he's not a mascot, he's a symbol!"

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 26, 2016 at 10:01 am

The symbol apparently lives on. Sorry spangwurst.

spangwurfelt wrote on January 26, 2016 at 1:01 pm

It lives on as a story of how the University of Illinois finally grew up, woke up, and jettisoned an overripe bit of rotting racist jetsam now drifting away on the tide of history.

And as a demonstration of just how bitterly some people wee-e-e-e-eep over their lost rotting racist jetsam.

spangwurfelt wrote on January 26, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Oh, what the heck, one more. Speaking of jettisoning racist mascots:

“You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 26, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Have you been to campus lately? Any athletic events? I'm sure the preponderance of Chief attire must eat at your tiny heart.

spangwurfelt wrote on January 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm

There's a lot less Chief crap on campus than there was half a decade ago, and a lot more than there will be half a decade from now. Y'all done lost the fight, done lost it good, and the Chief's been trifolded and put away like the Confederate flag that used to fly over the South Carolina statehouse. Sure, some dead-enders will still fly the Chief flag, just like some dead-enders still fly the Confederate flag. But that whooshing sound you hear is history flying by you while you remain stuck in the symbols of the past.

It's okay to cry if you have to, Illiniwek222. It's a natural part of the grieving process, and just might help you let go.

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Spangwurst, You do realize the Chief's last "official" appearance, to date a least, was almost nine years ago. If the Chief was as irrelevant as you assert, there would be no Chief imagery or debate to speak of. The majority of alumni and students support his return. Long after you've been relegated to the dustbin of whining trollers, the revered symbol of the University will remain. 

PSL wrote on January 27, 2016 at 12:01 am

Whenever I bring someone from out of town to a football or basketball game, I watch them during the Three-In-One. They get really confused at the part where everyone starts hooting and hollering in the middle (when the dancing mascot used to burst out of the tunnel), and then after the alma mater people start clapping faster and faster out of sync with the band and my guests get confused about that too. They also generally can't make out that people are saying "chief", they only know that people are saying something in unison. When I explain that people are clapping and gibbering in support of the old racist mascot--the one that involved a white kid playing dressup as a Native American and gyrating around in front of other white people--they always respond with a variation of "oh wow, that's really dumb".

PSL wrote on January 27, 2016 at 12:01 am

I also explain to my guests that, despite all the whining and crying by the pro-chief people over the past decade, they haven't made an inch of tangible progress towards getting the old racist mascot reinstated. My guests usually find that pretty funny too.

spangwurfelt wrote on January 27, 2016 at 8:01 am


Are you refering perhaps to me, Spangwurfelt? Maybe I should descend to your level and start calling you "Illiniwreck," after the way your racist mascot has crashed and burned. Or, conversely, you could grow up a little.

"you do realize the Chief's last "official" appearance, to date a least, was almost nine years ago."

Yep. Remember the N-G headline of the announcement too: "CHIEF OUT." And when I saw it, I knew how it would play out: Chief Racist Injun Mascot would fade. He wouldn't instantly vanish, he would just ... fade over time. I figured from the start that it would take a generational change before Chief Racist Injun Mascot disappeared, because you can't tell someone midlife that their cherished memories of youth -- getting amiably boozed up while watching ersatz Indians do "authentic" collar-county white-boy Boy Scout dances at halftime, ugh, kemo sabe -- were marred with an ugly racism. "Let me have that last vestige of the innocence of my youth," they tell themselves, "let me pretend we still live in a time in which the Chief's obvious racism wasn't so obvious."

The A(Money)A could speed things up, step up and announce plans for a new, non-racist mascot ... but that would take a level of integrity and honesty and vertibral solidity of a sort that hasn't been seen at the top of Illini money-for-sports sports-for-money UIUC Athletic Money Association for decades.

Illiniwek222 wrote on January 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

Spangwerst, In 2013, the student body voted 4 to 1 in favor of "supporting Chief Illiniwek as the official symbol" of the University. The vote was 9003 to 2517. That was six years after the Chief's forced retirement. These students were not even on campus in 2007, and certainly were not in mid-life, hanging on to cherished memories of their youth.

It seems democracy is not your desired method of dealing with this issue. However, if the issue were to be put to a vote of the students, the alumni, the cities, and I venture to say, the state, the vote would be overwhelming in support of the Chief.  

Sorry if that disturbs you. Now why don't you tell us who you are appointing as the country's next President.


PSL wrote on January 27, 2016 at 7:01 pm

So less than a quarter of the 44,000 students indicated that they want they old racist mascot back?

GoDelts97 wrote on April 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Dude this guy is really cool. I hope he registers for an American Indian class this upcoming Fall semester, and lays off the key bumps! Crazy kid.