Chief does harm Native Americans

Chief does harm Native Americans

Recently, columnist Jim Dey wrote about Chief Illiniwek and whether he should remain a figure at the University of Illinois.

His main argument, like many others, was centered around how we as Americans have the right to free speech and should therefore be able to reference the Chief whenever we would like to in whatever manner we would like.

However, using a Chief as your mascot or calling yourselves "the Indians" promotes harmful stereotypes that are damaging to whole communities of people. These mascots objectify Native Americans as a people leading to a large number of hate crimes against Native people. An analysis done by the Department of Justice shows that Native Americans are more likely to experience hate crimes than any other race.

I believe that continuing to use Chief Illiniwek is not a show of free speech in America but instead derogatory and harmful to an entire race.