GR commission calls for apology over Indian-themed event

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids city officials are encouraging residents to respect Native Americans and avoid stereotypical Halloween costumes following a questionably themed event posted on Facebook.

The city sent out the statement Thursday after the Flamingo Lounge publicized a “Cowboys and Indians” themed bicycle pub crawl. City officials say the event post read, “Cowboys and Indians theme! Either you’re one or the other!”

Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission Chair Tommy Allen called the event “extremely offensive, insensitive and discriminatory.”

The nine-member commission also denounced and discouraged the stereotyping of any individual.

“The City of Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission opposes stereotyping and urges all residents to equally oppose the discriminatory and offensive stereotyping of sovereign Tribal nations and their citizens,” Allen said in the release. “Grand Rapids strives to be an open, welcome and inclusive community with no tolerance for incidents of bigotry and hate,” he added.

The Bridge Street NW bar has since changed the theme of its event to “Halloween,” however commission members are encouraging the business’ managers to officially apologize.

Allen said they’ve also invited Flamingo Lounge’s managers to attend the commission’s Thursday meeting at 5:30 p.m.