When Bobby Bird Jr., a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, heard about the group of University of North Dakota students sporting “Siouxper Drunk” T-shirts featuring a chief in a headdress drinking from a beer bong, he was not only offended—he wanted to start a movement of his own.
Bird's Mount Pleasant, Michigan-based record company is fighting the stereotype that many American Indians are alcoholics with a T-shirt promoting a positive image of Natives, emblazzoned with the words “Siouxper sober”.
The new T-shirts mimic those worn by University of North Dakota students and others in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with the same color scheme and image, minus the beer bong.
“We’ve just seen this blatant racism,” Bird told inforum.com. “These stereotypes, it’s kind of mind-blowing.”
According to the Forum News Service, Bird is sober, and his fiance Amanda Mandoka has been sober for 12 years. “That’s something we’re proud of,” he said. His colleague and “Siouxper sober” T-shirt designer Cody Bigjohn has been sober for more than a decade.
Bird is spreading the word about the T-shirts on Facebook with the hashtags: "#siouxperdrunk We. Are. NOT! #SiouxperSOBER We ARE! #ChangetheStereotype#NativeSober#SoberCouple#Sobriety#AlcoholFree#NativePride#SoberNative#LetsChangeTheCycleForOurChildren"
The Siouxper Sober T-shirts can also be purchased at https://squareup.com/market/pow-wowjamz-llc/siouxper-sober-tee for $20 each. The Adam Beach Foundation, among other Native organizations, is also promoting the sale of the T-shirt through Pow Wow Jamz, and encourages Natives to join the Facebook group called #SiouxperSOBER Natives.