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Chief Illiniwek Dances Again

CHAMPAIGN-- He won't be found on campus, and he isn't available in stores. But last week Chief Illiniwek made a rare appearance in Hoopeston at the high school's homecoming basketball game.

Ivan Dozier is the 38th student to portray the Chief. "This is the whole reason I appear at local communities and things like that. I've been to Sullivan, I've been to Hoopeston now, just going to local communities, that's why I do it." The University does not have any formal ties to the Chief since he last performed on February 21, 2007 after the board of trustees voted to end the 81 year tradition.

But it is very protective of the image. Robin Kaler, Associate Chancellor of Public Affairs for the University, says, “We heard about this event just before it occurred. We did not authorize or endorse it. We’re working to reach those involved in this performance to make sure they have a clear understanding of our trademark protection.”

Dozier says, "It's one of those things where they can't really stop an appearance from being made, we're acting as an independent organization. I'm free to make appearances in the regalia, at sporting events, and as long as I don't dance I can even appear at University events." Dozier says that regardless of the event, it is his intent to continue to use the Chief as a teaching tool.

"A personal goal of mine is to use the Chief as a positive conduit to teach people about Native American culture, sort of educate them on why we no longer have the Chief."

Adam Rife reporting