Cultural Revolutions

Who Is Insulted?

Senator Paul Simon (D-IL), former presidential candidate, wants to abolish Chief Illiniwek, mascot of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Chief, a student who performs a war dance at halftime during UI football and basketball games, has recently been denounced by campus malcontents, on the usual grounds ("racism," etc.). Simon, attending the "36th Annual American Indian Pow wow" in Chicago, lent his signature to a petition to eliminate the Chief and "all mascots and emblems which rein force stereotypes of Native Americans."

Similar campaigns have done in In dian symbols at Dartmouth and Stan ford. Overwhelming local and alumni sentiment has saved the Chief from that fate; he has drawn the support of Governor Jim Thompson, Senator Alan Dixon, and an Illinois House resolution, and the UI has announced that he will continue to dance. But, being a university, the UI now feels compelled to work overtime to establish its "sensitivity." Chancellor Morton Weir, declaring his desire for "education, awareness, understanding," has pledged to seek out "inappropriate" Indian representations on campus. The UI quickly eliminated Squanto, emblem of the agronomy department ( the caricature—cartoonists, beware—was said to have a suspiciously hooked nose), and is targeting Chief based merchandise; the UI acknowledges that it has no power over private businesses,...

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