Native American tribes to air ad against Washington nickname before Vikings game

Two Minnesota Native American tribes are sponsoring a public service ad against the Washington football team’s nickname that will run Sunday on Fox 9 right before the game.

The powerful 30-second ad has inspirational images of Native Americans, and says:

“Proud, forgotten, Indian, Navaho, Blackfoot, Inuit, Sioux, unyielding, strong, indomitable. Native Americans call themselves many things.

The one thing they don’t…”

Then it cuts to a picture of a Washington football helmet, which has an image of the mascot that many consider offensive.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe officials bought time to run the ad right before the noon kickoff, on Fox 9, the station that airs the game locally.

A rally against the nickname will be going at the same time at TCF Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus, where the game is being played.

The ad, “Proud to Be,” was created for the Change the Mascot campaign launched by the Oneida Indian Nation and a two-minute version was released by the National Congress of American Indians in January.  A 60-second version was aired by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a California tribe, during the NBA Finals in June.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Charlie Vig said:

“We hope Minnesotans will gain greater understanding about this issue and benefit from this perspective.”

Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin said:

“Our tribes work hard to encourage self-respect among our children and young adults. Derogatory names used for our people in the wider culture undercut our efforts. We hope running this ad contributes in some way to bringing the practice of hurtful mascots to an end.”

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