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UI Alumna Says Chief Illiniwek Mascot can be Reinvented


A University of Illinois alumna says officials should form closer ties with the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and reinvent the university's former mascot. 

Colleen McCoy graduated from the university in 1988. She tells the News-Gazette that the university should ask the Peoria Tribe to endorse the "Fighting Illini" name and work with the tribe to create a new version of the Chief Illiniwek mascot.

McCoy also suggested the university create a scholarship for a tribe member who would serve as a campus ambassador.

The university stopped using the mascot in 2007 under NCAA pressure. A 2013 push to reinvent the Chief ultimately didn't garner support.

The Peoria Tribe recently issued a statement calling the mascot a "degrading racial stereotype."