Hail to the Chief: tribes and tribalism in American sports

At the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at the United Center in Chicago this week, ten of the eleven teams were allowed to bring their mascot. The outcast was the University of Illinois, the number one seed, the tournament winner and the number one—ranked team in the nation. Their mascot, Chief Illiniwek, was not permitted to appear.  The student who becomes the Chief at home games at Assembly Hall, this year an electrical engineering major named Kyle Cline, could only watch the tournament games from the stands in normal U of I civilian clothing (orange hair, shirt, pants, and socks). The Chief has become a politically incorrect symbol for the Fighting Illini, and many want him to go the way of the now departed Indian mascots for the Marquette Warriors (now Golden Eagles), the St. Johns' Redmen (now Red Storm), and the Miami of Ohio Redskins (now Red Hawks).  The fight to have the University walk away from the Chief, is an example of ethnic tribalism infecting...(Read Full Article)

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