Swedish Match tobacco company is changing the name and packaging of its chewing tobacco brand “Red Man” to remove racial stereotypes of Indigenous people. The product is now called America’s Best Chew, the company announced Thursday in a press release. The announcement was made part of the product’s 135th anniversary.
Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. applauded Swedish Match for the change. “Nationally, we are moving away from the use of derogatory terms and depictions of Native Americans as product mascots because representations are stereotypical caricatures, and they do not honor us or reflect how we live and thrive, both as individuals and as unique Tribal Nations today,”
Native American groups have been speaking out against offensive brands and mascots for decades. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), for example, began addressing stereotypes of Native people in popular culture, media, and sports more than fifty years ago. NCAI’s “Proud to Be” campaign works to end the use of harmful “Indian” mascots.