April 3, 2008

A salute to Native baseball players


The Iroquois Indian Museum will present “Baseball’s League
of Nations: A Tribute to Native American Baseball Players,” opening in April and running through December 2008.

An opening reception and benefit party for the museum will be held April
5 from 3 – 6 p.m. Baseball’s League of Nations is a multicultural tribute
to American Indian baseball players past and present.

Louis Sockalexis of the Penobscot Nation was the first Native to appear on
the Major League Baseball scene in 1897 as an outfielder for the Cleveland
Spiders. That was half a century before Jackie Robinson officially
integrated “America’s National Pastime” in 1947.

This historic exhibit also features American Indian barnstorming teams such
as Green’s Nebraska Indians. Other teams and players featured include
Native educator and former Syracuse University pitcher Mike Tarbell as well
as his uncle Joe Tarbell, who played with the legendary Jim Thorpe at the
Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

This exhibit also explores the use of activities such as baseball in the
assimilation of Native children at boarding schools into mainstream
American culture. The use of American Indian logos and mascots will also be
addressed by this exhibit.

The Iroquois Indian Museum will host an All-Star celebration the weekend of
July 12 and 13. The multicultural All-Star festival will include American
Indian artists and baseball players, traditional Iroquois Social Dancing,
Native speakers, and local talent and community theatre performances
focused on “America’s favorite pastime.”

This All-Star weekend will be just
one of the four traditional Iroquois Social Dance events scheduled at the
Iroquois Indian Museum for the summer of 2008.

A Fall Gala party and museum fundraiser will be held Nov. 15 and is the
final event in celebration of “Baseball’s League of Nations: A Tribute to
Native American Baseball Players,” running through December 31, 2008.

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located 35 miles west of Albany near the
intersection of Route 7 and Highway 145. For information and directions,
call (518) 296-8949 or visit the Iroquois Museum.

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