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04/19/2024 02:08 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: November 22, 2023 11:29 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Honoring the National Day of Mourning
Since its inception, the Thanksgiving holiday has been a celebration of Pilgrims and other European settlers taking possession of Indigenous lands in North America. Hundreds of years after the “first Thanksgiving,” Indigenous peoples across the nation continue to fight for their rights and spend the Thanksgiving holiday mourning the loss of Indigenous life and culture, in protest against racism and oppression, and in celebration of the resiliency of Native people.
The National Day of Mourning, a counter-commemoration to Thanksgiving which has been celebrated since 1970, is a recognition of the dark and shameful past imbedded in colonial history. The holiday honors Indigenous ancestors and Native resilience in Pennsylvania and across the nation. To recognize the perspective of Native peoples and to draw attention to the genocide of their people, theft of their lands, and assault on their culture, I plan to introduce a concurrent resolution recognizing November 25, 2021, as the National Day of Mourning in Pennsylvania.
For too long Pennsylvania has been home to ideas of White cultural superiority, exemplified in the 1763 Conestoga massacre, the 1782 Gnadenhutten massacre, and the inception of federally run Native boarding schools at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which sought to exterminate Native culture and force Whiteness and Americanization on Indigenous children until it finally closed in 1918.
We have the responsibility to recognize the shameful treatment of Native peoples in Pennsylvania, to join them in mourning the loss of their cultures, and to celebrate their resilience in the face of oppression. I hope you will join me in acknowledging the National Day of Mourning in Pennsylvania, charging all Pennsylvanians to remember the full history of our nation, and joining in our continued fight towards justice and harmony today.

Introduced as HR270