Background Information on Charlene Teters

     Born: Spokane, Washington, Enrolled member, Spokane Tribe
     Resides: Santa Fe, New Mexico
     Education: University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, 1994, MFA

     MFA, University of Illinois, Painting
     BFA, College of Santa Fe, Painting
     AFA, Institute of American Indian Arts

     Senior Editor, Indian Artist Magazine. 1996 to present.
     Professor, Institute of American Indian Art.
     International Indian Treaty Council, Speakers Bureau
     Founding Board Member, National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media

A native of Washington state, Teters moved with her family from Santa Fe. NM, to
Champaign-Urbana, IL, to enroll as  a graduate student in the University of Illinois'
Department of Art. In 1988, she took her two children to the school's Fighting Illini
 basketball game.

Just as it has been occurring for over 63 years, a student dressed as the team's mascot, the
fictitious Chief Illiniwek, leapt and twirled in what was billed at the time as an authentic
dance, as fans in mock war paint yelled war chants from the stands. Teters and her
children cringed in their seats. "I saw my daughter try to become invisible. My son tried to

"Our people paid with their very lives to keep what little we have left.. .and that is what I  am protecting. At home, we are taught to respect eagle feathers, respect the Chiefs,  respect that paint is sacred, that dance is something sacred to us," Teters explains. "If you've never been taught to respect these things, it might not bother you, but if you've  grown up in the community, where those things have meaning, it's going to have that  impact  on you."
Ms. Teters is currently an  artist and Professor at the Institute of American Indian Art at Santa as well as the director of student placement and alumni affairs.   She is the vice president of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media (NCAR SM) and established the office of racial justice for the National Congress of American Indians. She is a highly sought after speaker on the harmful effects of American Indian stereotpes.

Her efforts to eliminate the use of Indian mascots at the University of Illinois were chronicled in the  documentary "In Whose Honor" which was shown on PBS.

Read more about  CHARLENE TETERS.


Western North Carolina Citizens For An End To Institutional Bigotry


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