This is our third year of enjoying the fruits of the Highway Yard Sale and the most fun and rewarding yet.
And they did it. But I doubt Garage sales essay happy with the result. They hoped to return with Chief Illiniwek on a pedestal. Instead, they came back with his head on a stick.
These are the very same people who Illinois' Chief Illiniwek was created to honor. It's interesting how these Illinois Indians were discovered by the UI faithful. For many years, the UI had declared them extinct, supposedly wiped out by opposing Indians, thereby leaving the Chief Illiniwek fans guilt-free.
Then, in mid, an enterprising Champaign TV news station, looking for a new angle on the Chief controversy, decided to seek out the opinions of the descendants of the Illinois Indians. And lo and behold, they were in fact alive. They were listed in the telephone book.
Now living in Oklahoma, what remained of the members of the various tribes that once made up the original Illinois had combined into a single tribe, the Peoria. Today, the Peoria Tribe is the only federally recognized tribe of the original Illinois. The Peoria are the Illinois Indians.
Their existence wasn't of any particular importance to the Illini faithful untilwhen the NCAA announced sanctions against member schools with American Indian nicknames or mascots. But the NCAA later carved out an exception, allowing a school's namesake tribe to decide the ultimate fate of the school's nickname or mascot, done in recognition of tribal sovereignty.
Therefore, as far as the NCAA is concerned, it's the Peoria, as this area's namesake tribe, who hold Chief Illiniwek's fate in their hands. That set off a constant, relentless lobbying effort a land grab? Perhaps they didn't know any of that history when they set out on their mission.
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But when they arrived to discuss Illiniwek, the Peoria were prepared. Instead of endorsing Chief Illiniwek, the Peoria responded by releasing the tribe's most absolute and damning statement ever regarding Chief Illiniwek.
It reads in part: Chief Iliniwek as mascot for the University of Illinois, nor do they have any future plans to rescind the tribal resolution" — and then, just to twist the knife a little deeper — "which was approved by a unanimous vote. As far as the Peoria are concerned, discussions about Chief Illiniwek are over, for good.
What that means in Champaign is that any further debate about a future for the Chief is pointless and irrelevant.
So are the opinions of the Honor the Chiefs, Save the Chiefs, Students for the Chiefs and the Councils of Chiefs, along with, especially, the local self-appointed native spokesmen, who always claim some vague and undocumented American Indian heritage, usually Cherokee the REAL Cherokees of Oklahoma actually oppose mascots and the Chief.
The only opinion that counts is the Peoria, and they've made their final statement. So, if Chief lovers want to hold a mock pow-wow outside the football stadium between the cornhole and the kegs, have at it. And if it makes Illini fans happy to keep throwing money at the Honor the Chief Society, then go ahead.
I'm sure they're happy to take it. But it won't make a bit of difference. If you want proof, just ask King and McMillan. They have Chief Illiniwek's death certificate, delivered to them courtesy of the Peoria.Yard and garage sales are a great way to earn revenue.
All you need to do is place an ad in your local newspaper and online at classified websites, such as Craigslist.
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