From the Sun-Times:
The last dance for Chief Illiniwek
After 80 years, Chief Illiniwek on Saturday will begin what is likely to be his last year of dancing at University of Illinois football games, university sources said.
The chief, who will appear at the season opener at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, will also dance at home basketball games this winter.
But after that, he will no longer be an official university symbol, the sources said.
I attended my first and last U of I football game as a freshman at U of I back in the 80's. My best friend since first grade is Native American, and I was repulsed by the display I saw. I joined a student-led effort back then to send a message to the administration that this symbol was doing more harm to the University than good, and while some of the most offensive wounds were closed (Kam's dropped its "home of the Drinking Illini" ad campaign, and "Sexiest Squaw" contests disappeared), this last vestige of our genocidal past remained.
Since then, I've politely replied to solicitations from the University Alumni Association that I'll be more than happy to write checks when the University drops the Chief. I'm looking foward to making good on that promise. The Chief is a blemish on an otherwise outstanding institution.
I know this issue has been a sore spot for many who, like me, love U of I and the time they spent in Champaign-Urbana, but don't see eye-to-eye with Chief opponents. I think that they will look back years from now and realize that U of I and Champaign-Urbana are no less a place for the Chief's passing into history.