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Mary Pember: A confusing and disappointing mascot exhibit

Dennis Limberhand, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, speaks at a panel discussion on Indian mascots at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 7, 2015. Photo from Facebook

Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember reports on the opening of an Indian mascot exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio:
Despite the impressive exterior signage announcing the new “Mascots”exhibit at the National Underground Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the exhibit itself is tiny and confusing.

“Mascots,” according to a Freedom Center press release is “a special exhibit exploring national conversations on cultural appropriation in athletics.” It opened Saturday with a panel presentation held in the museum’s third floor entryway. An estimated 50 people attended the discussion that included Dusty Baker, former manager of the Cincinnati Reds Baseball team, his friend Alex Tortes of the Torres Martinez Cahuilla tribe in California, Dennis Limberhand of the Northern Cheyenne tribe in Montana, and Rose Wetterau, M.D., licensed clinical psychologist from Xavier University.

Baker, who was just hired as manager of the Washington Nationals, stated that he knew little about the controversy surrounding the use of Native American mascots in athletics, but was in Cincinnati to learn more. His fellow panelists, although pleasant, appeared similarly uninformed about the issue. Only one panelist, Wetterau, was from the Cincinnati area. All, with the exception of Baker, expressed concern about the appropriateness of the National Football League’s Washington team’s use of the R-word as its mascot.

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: 'Disappointing' Exhibit on Native American Mascots in Ohio Confounds (Indian Country Today 11/9)

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