Petitioners call "Big Indian" car dealer sign racist


For sixty years, this 15-foot sign has pointed at a car dealership in Cincinnati, Ohio. Now though, petitioners are asking the proprietors to "Remove their Racist style of advertisement."

I grew up near the sign and remember the TV commercials advertising the dealership's location with the slogan, "Where Paddock meets Vine at the big Indian sign." The lot has changed hands several times but the sign has stayed put.

From the petition:

Although the large Indian sign has been part of the advertisement for this car dealership for years it is highly offensive to Native people. Native people have been a target of this type of passive aggressive racism for years. It dehumanizes a race of people giving a false sense of being ok and is another form of genocide. Native people are discriminated against much like the African American population. However, you would never see a 15' caricature of a "lil black sambo" in this day and age, why is it ok for a 15' caricature of a Indian? This kind of passive aggressive racism is just as detrimental to Native people as any other type.

The car dealer, Motortime Auto Sales, responds:

The historical significance of the sign is solely a trademark of Pontiac, the vehicle built by General Motors that honored the Chief of the Ottawa Tribe by using his likeness and name on one of their automobiles for over 80 years. Over the years, it has become a landmark to this community, not to mention a memory for all of us that have driven by it as a kid. The sign is an icon that brings color and happiness to the 'Valley.' It truly is a piece of AmeriCARna.

Is the 'Big Indian' sign racist? (