Thursday, October 1, 2009
On September 30, 2009 Robert Warrior, writing on behalf of the American Indian Studies faculty (several of whom, including Warrior, are affilaites of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory), circulated a statement which appears below. The statement responds to the Friday, October 2 event at Assembly Hall depicted in the above photograph. The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory invites readers of this blog to comment on and discuss the statement as well as the broader issues and contexts to which it responds.
For those interested in consulting them, the American Indian Studies Program maintains a series of links providing background on this topic at http://www.ais.illinois.edu/mascot/
American Indian Studies statement on the October 2 event at Assembly Hall
I am writing on behalf of my colleagues in the American Indian Studies
Program to join those students, faculty, staff, and others who stand in
opposition to the event planned for Assembly Hall Friday, October 2, and I
ask others to join us, as well.
People in our program have stood against these invidious forms of racial
stereotyping and masquerade for many years, and our program remains
committed to moving forward in creating an inclusive campus environment for
everyone. Those who continue to engage in these actions that demean
American Indian people exacerbate a climate of intolerance, abuse, and
hostility that increases with each move further into the past of a sports
mascot tradition that the University retired over two years ago.
The real failure here, of course, is one of leadership, and Chancellor
Richard Herman, President Joseph White, and the Board of Trustees have
abdicated their responsibility to lead us away from this painful chapter in
the University's history. Hopefully, new campus leaders will swiftly and
decisively steer us in wiser directions.
Because of the failure of our appointed leaders, others must stand in the
breach. To those we join in standing against what is happening, I want to
express on behalf of our program my appreciation, admiration, and
Professor of American Indian Studies, English, and History