Saturday, February 17, 2007

Racist mascot!

That's what the UW hockey fans chant over and over again when North Dakota comes to play here. ND's team is infamously called the 'Fighting Sioux'. If you don't know about college ice hockey, the league membership is unrelated to the usual leagues: There is no Big Ten in hockey and we are part of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, along with North Dakota and some schools people in other parts of the U.S. probably aren't familiar with. Last night, for example, the Badgers beat St. Cloud State here. (For reasons I don't know, last night the students chanted 'Cite your sources!' — Plagiarism scandal involving the goalie? Or maybe just the feeling that St. Cloud's current national ranking of fourth needs some justification.)

But to Big Ten sports: We do not play Illinois in ice hockey, so the 'Illini' and their mascot, 'Chief Illiniwek', don't feel the wrath of Wisconsin fans. (I imagine they do in other sports, but once you start following ice hockey, other stuff is just too slow to hold your attention.) An email message yesterday from Wunk Sheek, our university's Native American Student Organization, was the first place many of us heard that the 'Chief' will dance his last on Feb. 21. This is a victory for many groups, including Wunk Sheek, that have long protested this bizarre ritual. (See here or here; if you have the stomach, get the movie "In whose honor?" about this whole deal, made a number of years back.) What I could never grasp is why people were attached to this tradition ... but I'm glad we're a step farther along on this one count, anyway.


Anonymous said...

Your guess was right:

Mr. Verb said...

Bee-yoo-ti-ful. Thanks ... I kind of wondered, since they were chanting it when the action was at the other end of the ice and the goalie was all alone with the student section.

You know, you have to appreciate hockey fans willing to do their own research, so to speak!