A Native American chief in Vermont has called out Ben & Jerry’s for having its headquarters on indigenous land.
The ice cream company has been receiving backlash after they tweeted on July 4th calling for the United States to ‘return indigenous land’.
Now, Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation, has told the New York Post that the land the company built their HQ on is on Native land
Stevens said: ‘If you look at the [Abenaki] traditional way of being, we are place-based people. Before recognized tribes in the state, we were the ones who were in this place.’
Stevens also said he ‘looks forward to any kind of correspondence with the brand to see how they can better benefit indigenous people.’
He continued: ‘Humans have a responsibility to take care of resources in places because we have the ability to destroy.’
Maps detailing the tribes that occupied the Northeast of the U.S. show how the HQ of the company in South Burlington, Vermont, are in native territory.
The Abenaki are a confederacy of Native Americans that merged with other tribes in the 17th century to protect themselves.
Descendants of the Abenaki numbered around 8,000 individuals in the early 21st century , according to Britannica.
Ben & Jerry’s was founded by longtime Bernie Sanders allies Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenwood.
Since founding the company in 1987, it has since been sold to British multinational Unilever, tweeted the message to its 494,000 followers.
Its 4th of July tweet said: ‘This 4th of July, it’s high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it.’
The ice cream company also suggested that Mount Rushmore should be returned to its original owners.
One commenter compared the statement to Bud Light partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney – which resulted in the beer giant losing more than $20 billion in market value.
The tweet then linked to a post on the company’s website explaining why America should ‘start with Mount Rushmore’ and how they hope to support a movement that would dismantle ‘white supremacy and systems of oppression.’
‘Ah, the Fourth of July. Who doesn’t love a good parade, some tasty barbecue, and a stirring fireworks display? The only problem with all that, though, is that it can distract from an essential truth about this nation’s birth: The US was founded on stolen Indigenous land,’ they wrote.
The tweet sparked immediate outrage on social media, with many disgusted customers using the #boycottbenandjerrys hashtag to slam the message as anti-American sentiment on a day meant to celebrate the United States.
Ben & Jerry’s has, throughout its history, been a supporter of far left causes and partnered with various movements for social justice.
Yesterday, its co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested outside the Department of Justice for protesting the prosecution of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.
The 72-year-old businessman and left-wing activist was part of a group denouncing the charges against the WikiLeaks founder.