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

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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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.