American consumers have often stereotyped Native Americans as being in tune with a bold, quiet strength, mysticism, and being “in tune’ with nature.
So, this leads us to the crying Indian. The crying Indian wasn’t actually Native American at all, in fact, he was an Italian actor that went by the name “Iron Eyes Cody”. In the 1970’s he appeared in a few anti-littering advertisements, some of the first ones as American consumers started to feel guilty about over-consumption and wastefulness. In hindsight, perhaps this is an example of how advertising doesn’t work, hm?
This public service announcement begins as Iron Eyes rows his classic canoe onto the beach shore to find it littered by a bunch of dirty, parasitic Americans. It’s filled with burger wrappers, drink containers, and the like. He steps over the rubble and somehow ends up at the side of the highway. Why he rowed to the side of the highway really isn’t our business, I mean, this is Iron Eyes Cody after all.
American consumers, however, not only lack respect for the land, but they also lack respect for people dressed in full costume on the side of the road. A sloppy, indifferent driver chucks their leftover fast food at him, ruining his moccasins. Shamed and hurt, Iron Eyes sheds a single tear.
“People start pollution, people can stop it.”
Here is a classic, original photo of Iron Eyes Cody from Mr. Girvan (Butch) Brown (Reliability Serviceman and Safety Chairperson). Thanks to Butch for sending us this unique photo of this retro icon of television’s past. The best guess is the others in the photo are TV or movie producers.