Monday, February 19, 2007

A Bit of Mourning for the Chief is Appropriate

Though Chief Illiniwek is a caricature that is best retired, that will come this Wednesday during halftime at the UI-Michigan basketball game. So now it perhaps is appropriate to let those who honor something they call the Chief mourn his passing. They are sad and feel a loss because the Chief is not a caricature to them, it is something larger and grander. So let's let them mourn, and then help them move on to a new symbol.

This article gives a sense of the feeling surrounding the issue. Here's a snippet.

Shaun Gaston, 60, of Champaign, recalled her parents taking her to Dyche Stadium in Evanston to see the Chief perform at a UI-Northwestern game when she was 5 years old.

"My mother had tears in her eyes when he came out. I came to school here. I had the dance down so if they ever needed a sub, I'd be ready. It's a revered symbol, a tradition, an honor. It's not a mascot. I do not want to see a mascot – ever," she said, adding she never leaves the seat she's had for 30 years at basketball games when the Chief appears.

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