To the editor:
Regarding "Time to retire Indian mascots," the article by professor Joseph P. Gone (Journal-World, Aug. 24): I respect professor Gone's Native American ancestry and his sensitivity to this subject. However, I would like to offer a different point of view.
¢ Professor Gone is a member of the GrosVentre tribe of Montana and perhaps does not know how present-day Illinois Indians feel about this.
¢ The leaders of the Seminole tribe of Florida have stated publicly that they have no problem with Florida State University calling themselves Seminoles.
¢ I, too, spent four years at the University of Illinois and recall vividly the program featuring "Chief Illiniwek" at football and basketball games. The "chief" was portrayed with honor, dignity, pride and respect, as was the tribe of Illini. That the regalia and dance were not specific to the Illini was, I feel, irrelevant to the spirit of the performance. The term "mascot" is not applicable here - "symbol" is a much better word. Irish Americans perhaps have more cause to be upset by the stereotype Irishman portrayed by the "Fighting Irish."
¢ Professor Gone alludes to "moral guidance" provided by the NCAA. Well, the NCAA was not established to provide "moral guidance" to anyone. In my opinion, they have overstepped their bounds and their authority here.
Perhaps Professor Gone is more of a Wolverine than an Illini now.