Ben Jerry’s Just Put Themselves Between a Rock and A Hard Place
A Native American chief claims Ben & Jerry’s headquarters, which is located in South Burlington, Vermont, is sitting on Western Abenaki land.
Chief Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation, said that the Abenaki people previously inhabited the land before recognized tribes were established in the state. He said his people were “place-based” and lived off the land until they were “pushed from their holy places.”
“If Ben & Jerry’s is sincere about advocating for Native Americans, we should be hearing from them about the land,” Stevens said in an interview with the New York Post.
The evidence of this situation comes just days after the ice cream company called on the U.S. to return “stolen Indigenous land.” They shared an Independence Day post, which reads, “The United States was founded on stolen Indigenous land. This Fourth of July, let’s commit to returning it.”
A link attached to the post leads to a website asking the country to return Mount Rushmore, located in South Dakota. The site reads in part that the faces on the monument “actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life, to deny Indigenous people their basic rights.”
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) responded to Ben & Jerry’s post, saying, “I’m not going to listen to a bunch of liberal Vermont businessmen who think they know everything about this country and haven’t studied our history.”
Noem went on to say that Mount Rushmore is a symbol and inspiration of freedom in the U.S., adding that people can “learn from the men on that mountain,” and “do better.”
Despite the criticism, some people have praised Ben & Jerry’s for taking a stand on the issue.
Still, Chief Stevens reminded people that it is important for Ben & Jerry’s to recognize the land they are standing on as Native American land if the company is “sincere” in its mission of advocating for Indigenous people. He said he is looking forward to hearing from Ben & Jerry’s about the land.
This 4th of July, it's high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it. Learn more and take action now: https://t.co/45smaBmORH pic.twitter.com/a6qp7LXUAE
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) July 4, 2023