Friday, September 01, 2006

Fanatical Campus Hubris

Once again, the foolish dancing caricature that the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), uses for a self-aggrandizing marketing gimmick has reared its ugly head -- again. Forcing the Native inhabitants from their lands was bad enough. Using a Plains Indian composite to advertise university sports and celebrates the genocide of Manifest Destiny is nothing short of fanatical hubris.

The original intent of the caricature was never to respect American Indians. It was to provide satirical entertainment for an unenlightened audience. Approximately 100 years after the Kickapoo ceded their lands and 80 years after Illinois lost it's last federally recognized tribe, a group of good ol boys pretending they are adults receiving a higher education could not or would not become members of the other official inter-fraternity junior social organizations (AKA exclusive clubs), so they created their own. Rather than allow an original thought to enter their minds or delve into a little autochthonous research, charter members created historically inaccurate accoutrements to include a caricature resembling a Plains Indian rather than the Central Original People (Algonquian) of the Upper Country (Great Lakes Region). They dressed their actor in traditional Plains Indian attire eventually acquiring authentic handmade Lakota (the historical enemies of the Kickapoo). The actors developed a dance that perfectly mimics a drunken, stumbling walk that includes hopping around like a manic mental patient on an acid trip.

Some people think respect equals bland. Others think it equals political. Both are schools of misguided thought. Respect simply equals common courtesy civilized people show one another.


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