Question: Who was the crying Indian in the late '70s (I think)?

Answer: I assume you mean the man who played the crying Native American in the memorable Keep America Beautiful public-service ad that debuted on Earth Day in 1971. The commercial featured an actor named Iron Eyes Cody as a Native American who, after paddling his way up a polluted river, hopped ashore and walked to a busy highway, only to have a bag of garbage from a passing car nearly hit him. He turned to the camera, shedding a single tear, as the voice-over delivered the tag line: "People started pollution. People can stop it."

Thing was, Iron Eyes, who died in 1999 at the age of 94, wasn't really Native American, although he lived as if he were as an adult, adopting Native American children and doing quite a bit for Native American causes. He insisted he was, even after a half sister made a public case that he was actually Italian American (which was true).

And it didn't matter to the Native American community, which didn't much care about his lack of blood ties. His good works were all that mattered, they said, and if that works for them, it works for me.