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Pennsylvania Battle Re-enactors Up in Arms Over Fighting Ban

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Timber Rattler:

A new rule in Pennsylvania that will require re-enactors of a 1763 battle to lay down their weapons is drawing fire from a local historical society, the latest skirmish in the re-enactment world, which has been diminishing as hobbyists get older and sensitivities about restaging historical events have grown.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission said last month that it will no longer permit re-enactments on the 23 sites it owns in the state that involve the exchange of fire from weapons, the taking of casualties and hand-to-hand combat, “or any other form of simulated warfare or violence between opposing forces.” The commission said it made the change to align with National Park Service policy.

The announcement opened a new front in a dispute with the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society, which said it would have to cancel a battlefield re-enactment it has put on every August for the past 40 years as part of a commemoration of a battle between British troops and Native Americans that took place during Pontiac’s Rebellion, just after the French and Indian War. At a community meeting on Sunday at Bushy Run Park 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, community members and local lawmakers also decried the new rule.

“This is not just a pretend weekend,” said Rob Malley, a board member of the local group, which touts the educational value of the event. “If this all stands, we have to reinvent ourselves.”



Bushy Run is near me. I know my sister has attended. Many of the same reenactors participate in a different soldiers/settlers vs. Indians battle during Ft. Henry days in Wheeling, WV, and it's amazing.

This decree from the Pa. Historical Commission is an utter travesty.

Timber Rattler:
Here's the whole story, following the links, of how this nonsense came about:

Concerns voiced as reenactors replay Penn Township battle of British, Native Americans

--- Quote ---Bonnie Ramus, president of the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society that operates the historic site and organizes reenactments there, said she received a request Friday afternoon to cancel the two-day battle reenactment, as many reenactors already were setting up their encampments.

Ramus said the phone call came from officials of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which oversees the site. It was prompted by a complaint from an out-of-state resident of Native American heritage who reportedly considers portrayals there of Native Americans by non-Natives as disrespectful.

With decades of precedent behind the annual reenactment, and given the fact that reenactors already were at the site, Ramus said she declined to cancel the event, which continues Sunday.
--- End quote ---

State officials: Bushy Run staff must consult with Native groups before staging reenactments

--- Quote ---If historic Bushy Run Battlefield Park intends to host future reenactments or programs portraying Native Americans, park management first will have to consult with appropriate Native groups.

That’s the policy of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which oversees the Penn Township park. The commission says it also must approve of any such activities in writing.

Questions about Bushy Run’s reenactments arose when a man who lives in another state and is of Native American heritage contacted the state historical commission to say he considered portrayals of Native Americans by non-Native reenactors at the park to be disrespectful, according to Bonnie Ramus.
--- End quote ---

Bushy Run Battlefield reenactment canceled amid new state guidelines

--- Quote ---A new state policy may scuttle reenactments of the Battle of Bushy Run.

The battle was part of Pontiac’s War, a pan-Native campaign that opposed British settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains. The British routed members of the Seneca, Cayuga and Lenape nations on Aug. 5-6, 1763.

It has been reenacted at Bushy Run for decades, but new state guidelines may curtail the annual reenactment in Penn Township and similar events at other Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission sites. The guidelines go into effect May 1.

“It’s a ‘no-force-on-force’ policy, which means we can’t have two opposing sides shooting at one another,” said Bonnie Ramus, president of the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society, which is responsible for the site’s day-to-day operations. “That’s what our battle is, and we’re the only recognized Native American battlefield in Pennsylvania — so taking that away from us really defeats our purpose.”

It also means the society will lose the centerpiece of the historical weekend held each summer and will have to make changes to what has been its most significant annual fundraiser. Ramus said money raised from more than 1,500 attendees makes up roughly 50% of the society’s annual budget.

“It will have a big impact on our fundraising,” Ramus said.
--- End quote ---

Bushy Run draws support after state halts annual reenactment

--- Quote ---In Rob Malley’s opinion, Bushy Run is experiencing its third battle.

The first battle occurred in August 1763 between the British and Native Americans during Pontiac’s War. The second happened in 2009, when the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission threatened to close the historical Penn Township park that memorializes the battle.

Now, Bushy Run faces yet another battle, as the state commission has enacted new guidelines that bar the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society from hosting its annual battle reenactment, the park’s biggest fundraiser that draws dozens of historical reenactors and thousands of observers.

“This is the Battle of Bushy Run No. 3,” said Malley, who sits on the historical society’s board.

Malley and other historical society directors briefed the public on the new regulations and the park’s future during a meeting at the park Sunday afternoon.
--- End quote ---

It's entirely punitive after the Bushy Run Heritage Society refused to cancel the reenactment because of a single out-of-state complaint a day before the reenactment last August.

 9999hair out0000


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