Indigenous Peoples Day Established in Pennsylvania

Several participants at the 2012 Indigenous Peoples Day in Philadelphia. From left to right - Peta-Gay Roberts (Taino), Hon Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, UCTP President R. Mukaro Borrero, Joselyn Borrero (Tlingit), and Ramon Ramos (Taino). 

Pennsylvania (UCTP Taino News) - The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on October 3rd, recognized “Pennsylvania’s American Indian peoples and communities”, as well as the first Saturday in the month of October as Indigenous Peoples Day. The recognition was issued in “noncontroversial” House Resolution No. 861, introduced to the Assembly by Hon. Representatives V. Brown, Bishop, Brennen, Caltagirone, Digirolamo, Kirkland, Parker, Cultler, M.O’Briean, Staback, and Frankel.  

The resolution acknowledges the “many great nations that inhabited the territory”, such as the Lenape, as well as the many “American Indian Peoples living in urban cities like Philadelphia”.  At the presentation of Resolution 861 in Harrisburg, several local Indigenous representatives were invited to address the Assembly including Carlos Rivera, leader of Yucayeque Taino Ma’Oconuco.    

Following the presentation of House Resolution 861, a celebratory festive was held in Muhammad Park in Philadelphia to commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day on October 6th. Indigenous Peoples from around the State and from as far as Canada gathered to share history and culture. The gathering was attended by Hon. Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown, who distributed copies of Resolution 861 to the participants and attendees. Seventh Generation Radio host and local Indigenous activist, Brother El “Owl” Ali addressed the gathering citing the significance of the Day for all Indigenous Peoples of Pennsylvania. El Ali was one of the main proponents lobbying for Indigenous Peoples Day, which was first recognized, last year at the local governmental level in Philadelphia.  

At the event, El Ali also acknowledged the United Confederation of Taíno People and its President, R. Múkaro Borrero, for being the “inspiration” to lobby for an “Indigenous Peoples Day in Pennsylvania”. Borrero was on hand to receive a copy of the Resolution on behalf of the Confederation.   

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