just procrastinating

Friday, August 12, 2005

A couple of weeks ago the NCAA announced something about not allowing teams with Indian mascots to compete in post-season play. The two biggest schools who this will impact are Florida State and the University of Illinois. That this is completely ridiculous goes without saying. I suppose I could be persuaded that the whole "Redskins" thing could be offensive, but Seminoles and Illini? Silliness.

Last week I was going to post something about how the NCAA ought to just go ahead and ban any team from a school with an Indian sounding name, like Miami, or Indiana, since, well, that must offend someone too. But it didn't go anywhere and drifted into discussion about Indians, and how if we didn't steal their land in the first place, they would have just ended up selling to us for liquor and we'd still be where we are today. But I was just kidding. Anyway, here is something I read today with historical perspective on the Illini:
The first humans arrived in Illinois about 25,000 years ago. The Blue Book refers to them as Paleo-Indians. In the 17th century, a federation of tribes including the Cahokias, Kaskaskias, Mitchagamies, Peorias and Tamaroas met some French explorers. The confederation called itself the Illiniwek, which translates loosely into group of men, and the French referred to the people and the country as Illinois.

And Illinois it has remained.

So that brings up our first question. If it is politically incorrect to name a team after a Native American federation, is it right to name a state after the federation? Especially when the whole thing is a misunderstanding on the part of the French. None of the tribes were the Illini. Illiniwek was the name of the group of tribes.

I'm glad Florida State is taking on the worthless NCAA in this silly endeavor.

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