Indigenous Student Discusses Public Suicide Over Chief Illiniwek Pain
Sandoval says she has met with an attorney with dissatisfactory results. And when speaking with other students about the matter, she has been called part of a group of “uninformed people who were just looking for a cause,” an “embarrassing display of buffoonery at the UI,” and “popularity-seeking, incredibly unintelligent people.”
Sandoval also described meeting Ivan Dozier Jr., the “chief himself” at a public forum. After a presentation by Sandoval and other students at the Native American House, Sandoval quotes Dozier as stating: “When I was little I had a harrowing experience with animal crackers because I couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be eaten or not, and I couldn’t eat animal crackers, but we can’t ban animal crackers because of that.”
“I, along with countless others, have had to endure the unbelievable and unjust burden of educating a racist image so deeply imbedded in the psyche of this Campus.”
Though Sandoval does feel the upcoming success of graduating with a degree in Latin American and Caribbean studies, her graduation will be a bittersweet moment. “I want to stay here and keep fighting,” she said.
The letter can be read in its entirety here.
When ICTMN reached out to the university, Robin Kaler, the university's associate chancellor for public affairs responded in an email:
"Federal law prohibits us from commenting on an individual student. I can tell you that whenever the university learns of students who face challenges that require intervention, we connect the student with assistance and we remain connected until we are confident the student's well-being is restored.
"Race and ethnicity are complicated issues in our country, state, and university. While no one measure can address the issue, we will continue to hold dialogues about race and cultural sensitivity."
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