My Plea For U. of I. To Embrace Its Native American Heritage

Saturday’s column from CBS Chicago

Chief_illiniwek_logo(CBS) From controversial NFL nicknames to the NCAA’s so-called “hostile and abusive imagery” to the wrangling over trademark rights for the University of Illinois’ Chief Illiniwek logo, there’s a whole lot of talk these days about what people shouldn’t do regarding Native American heritage.

But why don’t more people talk about what we should do?

And what we can.

Yes, U. of I., I’m looking at you.

On Tuesday, reported that as part of the Nike N7 initiative, four NCAA basketball teams will wear turquoise uniforms in November to honor Native American Heritage Month and help spread the popularity of the sport and other physical activities.

In partnership with Nike’s N7 Fund – created to benefit Native American and Aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada – Florida State, Oregon State and New Mexico will each wear the jerseys for one game, while Nevada will wear it for two. Each of the four schools has ties to the Native American community, according to CBS Sports, although it’s interesting that only Florida State uses – or has used – a nickname and imagery derived from a Native American tribe.

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