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Moccasin maker apologizes for profiting off Native culture

Minnetonka CEO David Miller said the company is not a Native-owned business

This undated photo released by Minnetonka shows the company's Thunderbird beaded moccasin. The inexpensive footwear has been seen on models and celebrities and is breaking sales records at fashion boutiques and upscale national chains.
This undated photo released by Minnetonka shows the company's Thunderbird beaded moccasin. The inexpensive footwear has been seen on models and celebrities and is breaking sales records at fashion boutiques and upscale national chains. (AP Photo/Minnetonka)

NEW YORK – Moccasin maker Minnetonka is publicly apologizing for making money off of Native culture and promised to do more to support Indigenous communities in the future after 75 years in business.

In a statement posted Monday on its company website, Minnetonka CEO David Miller said the company is not a Native-owned business.

He noted the Minneapolis-based company acknowledged its appropriation in the summer of 2020, but Miller said this public apology was long overdue.

To better address the needs of the Native American community, Minnetonka said it has hired Adrienne Benjamin as a reconciliation adviser. She is a Minnesotan, Anishinaabe, and a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.