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Mary Annette Pember: Group re-enacts hanging of Native man in 1785






A re-enactment of the hanging of Native man in 1785 has come under fire. The Westmoreland County Historical Society in Pennsylvania has since removed the video from YouTube and the group has posted a statement on Facebook defending its actions. Image Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Why does a historical group in Pennsylvania re-enact the hanging of Mamachtaga, a Lenape man who was convicted of murder in 1785? Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember has more on the drama, which includes a man painted in red-face:
Good intentions may not be enough to support the Westmoreland County Historical Society’s decision to reenact the 1785 public hanging of a Native man at Hanna’s Town, Pennsylvania. A few miles southeast of Pittsburg, Hanna’s Town, founded in 1773, was the first Seat of Westmoreland County, and hosted the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains.

For approximately 10 years, the Westmoreland County Historical Society and local volunteers have created annual reenactments of historical court cases during their annual Frontier Court Reenactment Days celebration in June.

For the first time in the Society’s history, the celebration coordinators chose to reenact a public hanging, this time of Mamachtaga, a Delaware man convicted of murder in 1785.

According to Lisa Hays, Westmoreland County Historical Society Executive Director, the June 25 and 26 Frontier Court reenactments went well and, in the interest of historical accuracy, included the moment when the first attempt to hang Mamachtaga failed because the rope broke and had to be repeated with a new rope.

A video of the public hanging was posted on Youtube on June 26, where it languished with little comment until Friday when several Native Americans began sharing the link on Facebook

Read More on the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Public Hanging Reenactment of Native Man Sparks Outrage (Indian Country Today 1/7)