Courtesy Bird
Bobby Bird, Jr., and his fiance Amanda Mandoka, who are both sober, proudly wear their "Siouxper sober" T-shirts.

Native Man Responds to Degrading UND Message With 'Siouxper Sober' T-shirts

ICTMN Staff
5/20/14

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.

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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.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm happy that people are uniting, but I'm worried that the use of Sioux will spawn a ton of misuse. Of course this has everything to do with how much respect is used when borrowing "Sioux," but how much respect can we expect from drunken Frat Brats?

marten's picture
marten
Submitted by marten on
Great way to respond to bigots. Turn a negative to a positive. It should be done more often. There's a new movie coming out that shows Indians as the bad guys, old, old movies, style. One of the stars, Tommy Lee Jones, did a self-aggrandizing interview with The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, which questioned the depiction of Indians, as the "bad guys". Meryl Streep is also in it. This is at least, the third movie with her participation, where she denigrates Native Americans. I'm not a fan of hers, so there may be other movies with her stamp of anti-Native American bigotry, on it. So it would be good to have an equivalent to the jewish Anti-Defamation League, in Indian Country. Think about it. Just like the students above, this new organization could turn negatives into positives, by stressing the good Native Americans have done. For example, Native Americans have the highest per-capita service persons in the U.S. military. Get young students enrolled in moviemaking courses, asap! Have them learn the "ins" and "outs" of moviemaking. There need not be anti-"whites"; anti-religion, etc! in the process. That's too self-defeating. Instead, stress the positives of Indian life. Yes, they do fall in love; they do eat meals together; they do contribute to American society; and on and on!
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