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University of Illinois mascot Chief Illiniwek comes out for a final bow at halftime during the Fighting Illini's game against Michigan in Champaign, Illinois, Wednesday, February 21, 2007. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/ Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Fighting for the Chief

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A popular university athletics symbol comes under attack by people who say it demeans American Indians and feeds stereotypes, division and racism.


After much controversy, the university and state higher education officials begin a transition. But members of the Legislature step in and propose writing the much-revered, 80-year-old symbol into state law.

In Illinois.

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