Friday, January 19, 2007

Return to sender

I haven't decided whether or not it is racist or degrading for Native American symbols to be used as sports mascots (although I may have learned something by typing that sentence). I am more intrigued by the situational ethics employed by the various groups who feel that they have a dog in this fight.

Today's papers brings us news that the Oglala Sioux tribe has asked the University of Illinois to return the Chief Illiniwek costume that was purchased from the tribe 25 years ago. The Chicago Tribune reports that "The university paid $3,500 for the moccasins, blanket, peace pipe pouch, breastplate and war bonnet with 90 eagle feathers, all owned by Sioux Chief Frank Fools Crow, according to the university's archives."

Can someone explain what has happened in the last 25 years to bring about this change of heart by the Oglala Sioux.

I'm serious. As Native American mascots go, Chief Illiniwek is portrayed with as much dignity as a mascot can be portrayed. I'm not saying it's right. I just want to know Why? And Why Now?

The treatment of the Native Americans in pursuit of Manifest Destiny by the US of good ol' A is a sad story. Ethnic cleansing, biological warfare, mass murder, etc. Perhaps the 'mascotting' of Native Americans is the final straw.

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