Statement from the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma (May 2018)
"The Business Committee of the Peoria Tribe passed Resolution on April 4, 2000, that the University of Illiniois would cease any use of the "chief illiniwek" as their mascot, as "the image portrayed by chief illiniwek does not accurately represent or honor the heritage of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and is a degrading racial stereotype that reflects negatively on all American Indian people." (R-04-04-00) The Peoria Tribe of Indians does not endorse or sanction the characterization of chief illiniwek as the mascot for the University of Illinios, nor do they have any future plans to rescind the tribal resolution, which was approved by a unanimous vote.
The Peoria Tribe, our past Tribal leaders, and newly elected Chief Harper, have all had great working relationships with the University of Illiniois. From the Chancellor's Office, Adminstration, IBC, Genomic Biology Department, Native American House, and other departments. We hope to continue to build on this relationship and move beyond this issue from the past"
The Native American House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a place where students, faculty, staff, and community members may increase their knowledge and understanding of the histories of American Indian peoples and their cultures, both past and present. Part of this understanding rests on the ability to critique and set aside images that confine the perception of an entire people to a limited and narrow existence. Stereotypical images, negative or positive, are barriers to understanding and seriously miseducate the public about Native Americans. Therefore, the Native American House and American Indian Studies faculty insist that the University of Illinios Board of Trustees discontinue the use of 'chief illiniwek' in name, performance, and symbol.