Cambridge restaurant cancels ‘Cowboys and Indians’ event

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CAMBRIDGE — As residents continue to await a court ruling over the school’s ‘Indian’ mascot, a local restaurant has canceled an event that has been criticized as disrespectful to Indigenous people.

The Country Gals Café was to host a ‘Cowboys and Indians’ dinner on Saturday night, where people were encouraged to wear costumes, including headdresses.

Menu items were named after famous Native Americans, but also George Custer, an army officer who sometime in the late 1860s led a massacre at a lawful Cheyenne encampment.

After a backlash this week, cafe owners canceled the event on Thursday afternoon.

“After careful consideration, The Country Gals has decided to cancel our upcoming dinner party. At Country Gals, we appreciate, honor and respect the rich history, culture, traditions, significant contributions and sacrifices of Native Americans,” wrote the owners on their Facebook page.

“When we planned our evening, it was not our intention to disrespect or offend anyone, especially people of Native American descent. However, upon reflection, we realize that it could happen, which is not acceptable,” they wrote. “So our decision to cancel is the obvious course of action we must follow. Our next dinner will be Woodstock themed in the near future.

The Cambridge School District is appealing a state Department of Education order requiring the district to get rid of its “Indian” mascot, with a decision expected as early as next week. In a ruling issued last year, Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said the school’s controversial badge and mascot must be retired by July 1.

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