U of Illinois to develop new relationships to tribes

December 12, 2020 GMT

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois says it will establish new traditions related to Native Americans some 13 years after it retired its divisive Chief Illiniwek.

An implementation plan released last week was developed from recommendations of the university’s commission on Native American imagery. Chancellor Robert Jones outlined several keys steps that will be taken over the next three years.

Jones said work is already underway on some of the initiatives that were recommended and the next phase is expected at the beginning of the next academic year, The (Champaign-Urbana) News-Gazette reported.


Among the plan’s highlights is to make in-state tuition rates available to students who enroll as citizens of a federally recognized tribe. It also calls for the university to strengthen its partnership with the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma and develop new relationships with other tribes that once lived in Illinois.

Music, symbols, branding, marketing and the university’s mascot are all part of the new coming traditions that the student body along with the new Illinois Spirit & Traditions Council led by Student Affairs, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Alumni Association will begin developing.

“It’s time to implement a plan to create new traditions that reflect and include all members of our 21st century university community,” Jones said in an email to the campus community. “The implementation plan provides a bridge from the past to the present, to fully remember the complex intent of the tradition while also accepting responsibility for its painful impact and a vision for the future.”