May 04, 2010

New Chief Illiniwek chosen

Chief supporters select new portrayer

By Julie WurthChief Illiniwek no longer officially represents the University of Illinois, but his supporters have chosen a new student to portray the Chief for several more years.

UI freshman Ivan Dozier of Ivesdale was appointed this week to succeed Logan Ponce as the Chief portrayer at various events, including future "Next Dance" performances at the Assembly Hall. Katie Birkel was named assistant chief.

Ponce, who was the official assistant chief when the university retired Chief Illiniwek in 2007, will graduate in May.

Dozier, who said he is half Cherokee, said he hopes to educate people across campus about American Indian culture and perhaps bridge some of the gaps between Chief supporters and opponents.

Ultimately, he'd like to see the Chief returned as the UI symbol.

"I'm a very laid-back person, open-minded. I like to hear what other people have to say. My personal belief is I don't see anything wrong with the Chief," said Dozier, who was also named vice president of Students for Chief Illiniwek.
Chief Illiniwek ContinuesThe Chief Illiniwek tradition continues with the announcement of the 38th chief. The NCAA no longer recognizes the former mascot of the University of Illinois but that won't stop students from continuing the 80-plus year tradition. After a weekend of tryouts in Gibson City Students For Chief Illiniwek introduced the newest student to carry on the fighting Illini tradition.

Ivan Dozier joins the long list of chiefs who came before him but the U of I freshman says he has something different to bring to this historic ritual. Dozier says he's half Cherokee on his fathers side and hopes to bridge the gap between those for and against the chief. He says stepping into the chief's shoes will give him an opportunity to use the role as an education tool on Native American culture. The Ivesdale, Illinois student says he has lots of support from his family but has had to deal with some family members who don't support his decision.

"I have one member of my family who graduated from here. He's kind of against me. Most everybody else is supportive but my cousin he's willing to talk to me at least and that's good at least to talk to me about what he thinks I should be doing and so it's good to have a little bit of tension there so that i can get a feel of what I should be doing," he says.

We spoke with the new director of the Native American House on campus who says he continues to support the retirement of the chief mascot that took place in 2007 but adds as a student organization the group has the right to continue the legacy.
Comment:  Here's more on Ivan Dozier, the sellout wannabe Cherokee Chief Illiniwek:


In the midst of the corn belt, Ivan Dozier's seven wild acres of tallgrass are bringing back history.

Ivan Dozier, Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)

Another website lists Dozier and his father as "Southern Cherokee." There's no such tribe--at least no such tribe that's federally- or state-recognized. Must be one of the 200-plus Cherokee splinter vying to prove they're not wannabes.

Dozier still could be an Indian, and he looks like one. Being half Cherokee by blood should qualify him to join a legitimate Cherokee tribe. It's a bit odd that he's citing the Southern Cherokee, a tribe I've never heard of, as his heritage.

Hidden motivations

It's clear why the students chose Dozier. They can claim their phony Chief Illiniwek is a real Indian. Never mind that a "Southern Cherokee" has nothing to do with the Illini Indians, who have nothing to do with a stereotypical Plains chief.

It's not clear what Dozier's motivation is. How can someone be a bridge between the two sides when he doesn't think anything is wrong with the dancing clown? What's he going to say: "I'm an actual Indian, so ignore the clown suit and focus on me"? Most likely he'll say: "I'm an actual Indian, so don't complain about my stereotypical costume and dance."

Claiming that stereotypes are educational is a pathetic joke. When the first Chief Illiniwek says, "Here's your education: Real Indians don't look or act anything like me," then we'll have something to talk about. It hasn't happened yet.

Did I mention that Dozier is a sellout? The terms "Uncle Tomahawk" and "Indian apple" also come to mind. Sorry, but if the stereotype fits, wear it.

For the latest on Chief Illiniwek, see Trade In Chief Illiniwek and "Next Dance Is Educational?!

For why Chief Illiniwek is wrong, see Mascots Perceived as Real Indians and Chiefs Were Humble and Generous. Also see The Chief Illiniwek Dialogue: Intent and Tradition vs. Reaction and History.

For why wearing headdresses is wrong, see Headdresses = Fedoras?, Why Hipster Headdresses Aren't Okay, and What's So Wrong About Kesha?

Below:  Dozier's new role as an Indian jumping bean.


Anonymous said...


Not to troll...

But why won't you respond to any of the comments readers have about your Tardicaca Indians and Southpark post??

Get the sand out of your vagina and be a man about it. You obviously have PLENTY of time on your hands. Part of being a blogger is interacting with your readers, genius.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this story. My initial response has lingered, it is mostly just a stunned "how could he?" in a place where we are assaulted every day with the racist images on shirts, in windows, etc.

BTW, I actually don't have a problem with people claiming their blood (like you said Dozier could very well be Cherokee, lots of reasons one cant get enrolled, like gaps in paper trail etc.)

However, if you are going to start trading on that identity you best be prepared for lots and lots of questions. And if you are going to go down the self-hating path of playing the Indian clown, you had best be prepared for a lot of anger from other Indians.

Anonymous said...

You are going to love this: All of the comments on the News-Gazette article seem to have disappeared.

Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Your arrogance knows no bounds. You're not even willing to entertain the notion that he might actually want to use the platform and the attention to heal some of the massive damage to Native American culture.

Since he doesn't agree with you about how to do that, he's a sell-out and an "uncle-tomahawk."


Anonymous said...

...and that should say cultures, not culture. A mere typo before you accuse me of lumping all First Americans together out stereotype-loving ignorance.

Anonymous said...

The only ignorant one here is Rob.

dmarks said...

"Did I mention that Dozier is a sellout? The terms "Uncle Tomahawk" and "Indian apple" also come to mind."

Both those terms are rather racist, and explicitly so, as they always contain a strong element of condemning someone for their race.

Terms like this bash a person for their (1) race AND for their (2) views. And isn't bashing someone for their race a form of racism?

Anonymous said...

Not if Rob does it.

Rob said...

You're sadly mistaken if you think I have plenty of time on my hands, troll. I'm already spending too much time on this blog as it is.

I've addressed Chief Illiniwek's lack of educational value in this posting and others. I guess you couldn't touch my arguments so you resorted to personal attacks instead.

If and when Dozier begins his educational and healing efforts, I'll give them the attention they deserve. Until then, I'm free to say a guy in a clown suit doesn't have much educational or healing value.

Are you suggesting we should retire the term "Uncle Tom," DMarks? Because that's where "Uncle Tomahawk" comes from. Similarly, "apple" is derived from other food-based ethnic labels such as "banana."

I didn't criticize Dozier for his race. I identified him by his race and criticized him for his actions--i.e., selling out. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that when Dozier speaks at schools he pretty much starts with "Don't think Indians look or act anything like me. . ."
Thought you might like to know that.