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NCAI President Joe Garcia Statement on the University of Illinois' Decision to Discontinue use of Native American Mascot
WASHINGTON--February 16, 2007--The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Joe Garcia released the following statement in response to the University of Illinois' decision to retire its 81-year-old American Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek.
"On behalf of Indian people throughout the United States, I thank and commend the University of Illinois for making the right decision on this sensitive matter. Tribal leaders and Indian people are heartened by the University of Illinois' decision. This should be an example to other institutions to respect American Indian culture by not promoting stereotyping through the use of racist ../images and mascots. NCAI encourages other educational institutions to follow suit in discontinuing the use of Native American mascots that are derogatory and offensive to Native people. NCAI hopes to work with the University of Illinois in furthering awareness and education about Native cultures and traditions."
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country.  NCAI advocates on behalf  tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.
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