Chief Illiniwek dances again, sort of

Champaign, Illinois (AP) 11-08

Chief Illiniwek was retired early last year, but he danced again at the University of Illinois.

The independent group Students for Chief Illiniwek rented Assembly Hall on Nov. 15, hosting about 9,000 people. The event included a performance by Logan Ponce, a student chosen to be a sort of chief-in-waiting in case the university ever reinstates the mascot.

Protesters stood outside the arena carrying signs that said “People are not mascots, respect all people.”

Illinois stopped using the mascot in February 2007 after years of pressure by American Indians and others who saw the mascot as a demeaning caricature. The NCAA also levied sanctions against the school.

The university has said the school has nothing to do with the performance.