Xochitl Sandoval/Facebook
Xochitl Sandoval, an indigenous student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Indigenous Student Discusses Public Suicide Over Chief Illiniwek Pain

Vincent Schilling

Though the Chief Illiniwek mascot has been banned from the University and Chancellor Phyllis Wise has told ICTMN the mascot would not return, efforts to bring a new mascot to the school have been thwarted and an unofficial Chief Illiniwek still appears at some school games and elementary and middle school tours.

Chief Illiniwek (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

RELATED: Chief Illiniwek: Beloved by Students, (Still) Banned by the University

Sandoval also wrote that she had expressed her concerns in an email to her Spanish professor because other students had worn a sweatshirt and sweater with “Chief” on them in her class and felt the display was a violation of her rights as outlined by the university’s policies.

“In this email I articulated to her (Sandoval’s Spanish Professor) that as a student, I had rights that had been outlined by the University that ensured every student would have ‘freedom to learn, free and open expression with limits that do not interfere with the rights of others, respect for the dignity of others, and personal and institutional openness to constructive change.’

I explained to her that as an indigenous student, this image and every likeness to it represented a complete disregard for American Indian culture and spiritual practices, and that every time I saw it, it was not only an emotional stab, but also an impediment to my academic success. In the student handbook in Section 1-302 Rules of Conduct, number 5 states that ‘engaging in behavior which is so persistent, pervasive, or severe as to deny a person’s ability to participate in the University community’ is grounds for discipline, which every likeness to the Chief is to me.”


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greenT's picture
Submitted by greenT on
Our university's chancellor is Phyllis Wise, not Robin Kaler. This is even stated in the letter itself.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
WTF? So now the killing of our people, our culture and our language is on par with animal crackers? I think the only crackers here are the ones who aren't mature enough to understand the problem. I can fix that for this Idiot Dozier Jr. “When I was little I had a harrowing experience with Indians because John Wayne was always killing them and I wanted to also, but we can’t anymore because they're supposedly human beings." As M. Garlinda Burton said in her book "Never Say Nigger Again" it's much easier to trust an overt racist because you always know where you stand with them. Liberals are often racist without even realizing it. I say we just drop all pretense and TELL us you hate us. It seems the "civilization" we've been forced to adopt isn't quite so civilized after all.

ravenhawk's picture
Submitted by ravenhawk on
Just like Chief Spence - A terrible example to set for other Natives or supporters. Starvation/suicide are the acts of condemned prisoners ... if a FREE person with access to technology, information, and other vehicles of resistance can't come up with a better idea than that of a incarcerated individual I will not support or cheer someone with suicidal tenancies into 'jumping of a cliff' so to speak. They need mental help - not a cheering section to endorse Suicidal behavior.

editors's picture
Submitted by editors on
@ greenT: Thank you for your comment! We did not mean to imply that Robin Kaler is the chancellor, simply that she was the one who responded to our inquiry. The language of that sentence has been tweaked.