Feb 24, 2023 — Washington, DC (February 23, 2023) – Today, Keep America Beautiful® announced the transfer of ownership of the well-known “Crying Indian” advertisement to the National Congress of American Indians.

On Earth Day in 1971, Keep America Beautiful first aired the now-famous “Crying Indian” anti-pollution public service advertisement. And while it represented the heralding of the modern-day environmental movement, it also included imagery that stereotyped American Indian people and misappropriated American Indian culture, much to the dismay of the American Indian community.

On Thursday, February 23, 2023, Keep America Beautiful, having created the advertisement decades ago, officially removed the “Crying Indian” anti-pollution public service advertisement from its catalog and assigned it to the National Congress of American Indians Fund, a 501(c)(3) public education nonprofit organization that is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.


“Keep America Beautiful wanted to be careful and deliberate about how we transitioned this iconic advertisement/public service announcement to appropriate owners,” Noah Ullman, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, said via email. “We spoke to several Indigenous peoples’ organizations and were pleased to identify the National Congress of American Indians as a potential caretaker.”

Noah Ullman

Chief Marketing Officer, Keep America Beautiful

“NCAI is proud to assume the role of monitoring the use of this advertisement and ensure it is only used for historical context; this advertisement was inappropriate then and remains inappropriate today. NCAI looks forward to putting this advertisement to bed for good.”

Larry Wright

Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians

NCAI plans to end the use of the ad and watch for any unauthorized use.

About Keep America Beautiful:

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green, and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. The organization is driven by the work and passion of 700 Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube. Donate and take action at kab.org.



Keep America Beautiful®