So the mega-giant ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s said last week that the U.S. should return “stolen Indigenous land” to Native Americans.
It didn’t take long for a tribal leader to take the company up on its offer. You see, Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont, actually sits on land that was once home to the Nulhegan Band of The Coosuk Abenaki Nation.
The band is one of four tribes descended from the Abenaki that are recognized in Vermont. On Friday, its chief, Don Stevens, told
the New York Post that he “looks forward to any kind of correspondence with the brand to see how they can better benefit Indigenous people.”
“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 said, adding that his band views themselves as “stewards of the land.”
“Humans have a responsibility to take care of resources in places because we have the ability to destroy,” he said. “We are always interested in reclaiming the stewardship of our lands throughout our traditional territories and providing opportunities to uplift our communities.”
Despite the Bud Light controversy, Ben & Jerry’s decided to ignite its own powder keg when it made a bold declaration just before July Fourth. “The U.S. was founded on stolen Indigenous land,” the company said in a statement ahead of Independence Day. “This year, let’s commit to returning it.”
The company added that its proposed movement was about “ensuring that Indigenous people can again govern the land their communities called home for thousands of years.”
So now, the hyper-liberal company in one of the most liberal states in America can put its money where its mouth is by giving Native Americans their land back — just as it demanded everyone else do.
Ben & Jerry’s spends a lot of time virtue signaling. Last year, it ripped its parent company Unilever for doing business with a local licensee in Israel, in essence sidestepping a boycott of Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank.
“We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” Ben & Jerry’s wrote on Twitter.