Prior Lake, Minn. –The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe are sponsoring a TV ad during Sunday’s Minnesota-Washington NFL football game decrying the Washington team’s name.
The public service announcement will run during a broadcast just before the 12 p.m. CST kick-off on the Twin Cities FOX affiliate, KMSP-TV (FOX 9).
The spot is a 30-second version of the ad entitled “Proud to Be,” created by the Los Angeles-based agency Goodness Mfg. for the Change the Mascot campaign launched by the Oneida Indian Nation. The original two-minute version was released by the National Congress of American Indians on YouTube in January, just before the Super Bowl, and has been viewed more than 3 million times. A 60-second version was aired by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a California tribe, during the NBA Finals in June.
The two Minnesota tribes collaborated to purchase the air time in order to bring the ad before the public for the first time during an NFL game involving the Washington franchise.
“This ad communicates Native American objections to the team’s name in a powerful way,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Charlie Vig. “We hope Minnesotans will gain greater understanding about this issue and benefit from this perspective.”
“Our tribes work hard to encourage self-respect among our children and young adults,” said Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin. “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.”
The November 2 game will be played at the Minnesota Vikings’ temporary home field, TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The stadium and adjoining Tribal Nations Plaza, honoring Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized tribes, were partially financed by a contribution from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Committee. Vig noted that it is the only NFL venue with a significant Native American connection. “This game, at this time and at this stadium, provides the ideal teachable moment to educate Minnesotans and perhaps all Americans about the pain which racial slurs create for Native people,” said Vig.
The full version of the “Proud to Be” ad may be viewed here.
The ad will run at the same time a rally protesting the Washington team name concludes outside the stadium.