Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots
Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots
Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots
Price: $5.95 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Released: 2002
Page Count: 308
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0814781268
ISBN-13: 9780585480022
User Rating: 4.5000 out of 5 Stars! (2 Votes)

From Publishers Weekly

"For starters, I simply wanted to understand why, at the university where I taught, a student dressed up as an Indian named Chief Illiniwek and danced at sports events." It wasn't long, however, before Spindel broadened her inquiry, tackling the history of the real Illiniwek tribe, the role of Indian mascots in American sporting events and the reasons why non-Indian-Americans are so attached to an image of Indians that exists only in mythology. An English professor at the University of Illinois, Spindel began by asking her students to write essays on the chief, only to find that they knew next to nothing about the history of the real Illiniweks. Deftly mixing descriptions of the chief's halftime performances with her own historical argument, Spindel shows how the university mascot derives from the turn-of-the-century Wild West Shows that brought such notable figures as Buffalo Bill around the country. She also observes how prevalent Indian figures remain in both college (Florida Seminoles) and professional sports (Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians). Avoiding academic jargon, Spindel writes convincingly about how her research has helped her to understand attitudes toward American Indians. While many fans of professional sports would benefit by reading this bookAas a way to understand why many find it offensive to do tomahawk chopsAthe book's focus on only one university may limit its appeal. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


During her first 10 years of teaching at the University of Illinois, Spindel had never thought much about Chief Illiniwek, the Fighting Illini's revered mascot. It was an article by the late author Michael Dorris that piqued her interest in the subject. Dorris, who was part Modoc, wrote about sports' Indian caricatures, saying that their images "act as opaque, impermeable curtains, solid walls of white noise that for many citizens block or distort all vision of the nearly two million Native Americans." Spindel's search for "the answers" thus began. Does the fact that, at Illinois, thousands of alumni and fans see the Chief as representing courage, honor, strength, and other virtuous qualities associated with leaders somehow make the Illini mascot less degrading than those of the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, or Washington Redskins? Through extensive research, both academic and anecdotal, Spindel details both sides of the controversy, the ultimate question turning on whether it is proper for whites to use symbolic images about the Indian peoples when those images may offend cotemporary Indians. A thorough treatise on a controversial topic. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Robert Munson (Mosinee, WI USA) | 5 out of 5 Stars!

An excellent analysis of the Indian mascot controversy in general and cheif illiniwek in particular. Very well researched and presented in an interesting and compelling manner.

Todd Salen (Champaign, IL) | 4 out of 5 Stars!

This topic is extremely controvesial and Carol Swindel handles the topic very well. She takes time to present both sides of the issue including a history of both the Illini Indians and chief illiniwek. It's difficult to read this book and not be affected by both sides of the issue. I applaud Swindel for having the courage to write a comprehensive study of the use of racist mascots in America. A must read if you are a Big Ten or Illini fan.

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