The painted turkey feathers that adorn the headdress of Chief Illiniwek were at one time eagle feathers. Now they, and the rest of the beaded buckskin regalia, are the center of a new controversy surrounding the University symbol.

The Executive Committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Nation submitted a resolution to University President B. Joseph White, Chancellor Richard Herman and the Board of Trustees on Wednesday demanding the return of Chief Illiniwek’s regalia and the original eagle feathers to Mel Lone Hill, descendent of spiritual leader Frank Fools Crow. Fools Crow presented the regalia to the University in September 1983 during a football halftime show. . .

“There can be no misreading of the Oglala Sioux Resolution,” said Debbie Reese, professor of American Indian studies, speaking on behalf of the faculty during a press conference Thursday morning. “Those to whom the Lakota regalia belongs, and whom the Board of Trustees claims to be honoring, have clearly requested that the performance and charade of Chief Illiniwek end.”

Students groups on campus agree. Reem Rahman, junior in LAS and director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, UIUC chapter, said the resolution is proof that American Indian tribes do not support the Chief.

“The first thought that comes to me is ‘try to prove the Chief is an ‘honorable tradition’ now,” said Rahman. “The answer is repeated and direct: it is not.”


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.