The Mets organization put forth possible dates in July and August for this collaboration. AICH and its co-sponsors chose July 25th for numerous reasons: it was a day game so it would be more family friendly in cooperation with Mets Kids Camp days; it didn’t conflict with any major Native events in the New York area; a major Pow Wow is taking place in Queens the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it was a game against the Atlanta Braves, which turned out to be the determining factor in the reversal of plans made by the Mets organization this past week.
AICH and its co-sponsors saw the Mets game with the Atlanta Braves as an opportunity to address the inaccurate perceptions often held about Native Americans by showcasing contemporary Native Americans and Native culture on a national sports stage. Thus, throughout the many meetings and communications that followed the initial agreement in March, AICH, Native One, Indian Country Today, Red Hawk Native American Arts Council and the Mets jointly planned activities for the Native American Day that included traditional singing and dancing, as well as informational tables on Native American issues at the Main Stadium Entrance preceding the game, along with periodic public service announcements during the game on the ball park jumbo screens that would also highlight Native American life in New York City. AICH and its co-sponsors also made the Native American Day with the Mets a springboard for other AICH co-sponsored events in the City, such as a Native art exhibit at the Phoenix Gallery, a tour of the New York Stock Exchange led by executives from Native One, and a panel discussion on Mascots with Suzan Shown Harjo.
At the final stages of coordination, on July 1st, the New York Mets management informed AICH that the Native American Day as designed could not be held on July 25th because they feared the event in conjunction with a game hosting the Atlanta Braves may become too “political” and may bring unforeseen and disruptive actions by individuals or groups. AICH never received any communication whatsoever with any Atlanta Braves representatives and the New York Mets staff assured us that this was solely their decision, with no input from any team outside the Mets organization. Ultimately, alternative dates, August 8th and August 21st were offered by the Mets but AICH declined because those dates conflicted with other events AICH has planned.
AICH still sees this as a chance to grow and raise awareness regarding our outreach to the greater New York City community and looks forward to a summer full of successful events. AICH would like to work with other organizations, public institutions, and individuals to collaborate with us and enhance their knowledge concerning the first people of the Americas as we continue to flourish and overcome challenges in New York City, as we do throughout this land.