Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I write to share with you the public report on the first Critical Conversation on Native American Imagery we held last spring. You can read and download the full report here and I encourage you to do so when you have the opportunity.

From the results of the spring Critical Conversation, I take great encouragement that this is a path within our reach, as long as we map it out together. From discussions, questions and ideas that emerged throughout this process, it is clear that we are in a different time and place today than in 2007. There is growing consensus that we can – and must – find a solution that lets us all find a way to put the future wellbeing of the university first.

I believe that we are at a watershed moment and have before us the chance to build new traditions together. We can build a deeper and more broadly shared understanding of Native American/American Indian experiences, and we can inspire all members of the Illinois family to take a shared pride in the accomplishments of our university.

I want to thank Mr. Dan Maloney and Mr. Kevin Gover whose insights and viewpoints on Chief Illiniwek and the history of Native American imagery catalyzed the frank, honest and illuminating conversations that are recounted in this report. And I also thank Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak for his own observations and moderation of the event. Most importantly, we owe our collective gratitude to the nearly 600 people who took part in this Critical Conversation process and offered their insights and honest perspectives.

Once again, I hope you will follow the link and read the report. And more broadly, I hope you will take advantage of the opportunities that we will be offering across many of these categories of recommendations to engage with us honestly and respectfully and constructively as we work to heal our past divisions and create a future that brings all of us together for the university.


Robert J. Jones

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