Cambridge diner drops ‘Cowboys and Indians’ event

CAMBRIDGE – As residents continue to wait for a judicial decision on the school’s “Indian” mascot, a local diner has canceled an event that was criticized as being disrespectful to Indigenous people.

The Country Gals Café was to hold a “Cowboys and Indians” dinner on Saturday night, at which people were encouraged to wear costumes, including headdresses.

Menu items were named after famed Native Americans but also George Custer, an Army officer who at one point in the late 1860s led a massacre on a legal Cheyenne encampment.

After backlash this week, the café owners canceled the event Thursday afternoon.

“After thoughtful consideration, The Country Gals has decided to cancel our upcoming dinner night. We at the Country Gals value, honor, and respect the rich history, culture, traditions, contributions and significant sacrifices of the Native Americans,” the owners wrote 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 could occur, which is not acceptable,” they wrote. “So, our decision to cancel is the obvious course of action for us to take. Our next evening dinner will be a Woodstock theme some time in the near future.”

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