Ticker – Rights to ‘Crying Indian’ ad to go to Native American group

Since its debut in 1971, an anti-pollution ad showing a man in Native American attire shed a single tear at the sight of smokestacks and litter taking over a once unblemished landscape has become an indelible piece of TV pop culture.

It’s been referenced for decades on shows like “The Simpsons” and “South Park” and in internet memes. But the “Crying Indian” public service announcement has been painful for some Native Americans who saw it as a trope.

That’s why Keep America Beautiful, the nonprofit that originally commissioned the advertisement, announced Thursday that ownership of the ad’s rights will be transferred to the National Congress of American Indians. NCAI plans to retire the use.