Critics Have Scoop for Ben & Jerry’s: US Not Built on ‘Stolen’ Land

  • Post category:News / US News

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Ben & Jerry’s is facing criticism after the ice cream maker accused the United States of having been “founded on stolen indigenous land.”

On Independence Day, the Vermont-based ice cream maker posted on Twitter: “This 4th of July, it’s high time we recognize that the U.S. exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it.”

 Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., called out Ben & Jerry’s and asked founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on Twitter: “Will you commit to returning the land you’ve made profits off of?”

The company’s headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont, sits on land once inhabited by the Abenaki tribe, according to the National Park Service.

But instead of offering to return the ice cream maker’s land to the Abenaki tribe, Ben & Jerry’s asked Americans to sign a petition urging the return of Mount Rushmore and the surrounding Black Hills in South Dakota to the Lakota Sioux. 

Richard Reinsch, the director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at The Heritage Foundation said he thinks an “identity politics narrative is [at] the core” of the Ben & Jerry’s Twitter post. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Furthermore, the ice cream maker’s statement that “the U.S. was founded on stolen Indigenous land” is incorrect, Reinsch said. 

“I don’t think ‘stolen’ is the right word,” he told The Daily Signal. “Much of this land was actually transferred to federal and state government control under business transactions or land for wagonloads of goods.” 

Reinsch mentioned the City Journal article “Give It Back to the Indians?”  that details how Eastern states bought land from the native tribes in the late 18th century. 

“The idea of going back nearly two centuries later and declaring all these sales invalid was almost unthinkably audacious,” the 2002 article says, because “[n]othing suggested that the tribes had been under duress at the time, had been anything other than eager to sell the land, or had received less than due value for it.” 

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As a result, Reinsch called Ben & Jerry’s petition “an attempt to delegitimize America and insist that we’re a taker nation, one without an ethical founding.”

In essence, Ben & Jerry’s is saying the United States “should be remade on new foundations,” he said. 

The ice cream makers conveniently overlook that it was the original foundation of the United States as a free country that enabled them to attain their enormous success. 

In 1978, the two entrepreneurs, “hippy capitalists” Cohen and Greenfield, started a pop-up ice cream shop in a renovated former gas station in Vermont. 

Ten years later in 1988, they were awarded the “U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year” by President Ronald Reagan, according to the company’s “About Us” page. The British conglomerate Unilever bought Ben & Jerry’s in April 2000 for $326 million.

Cohen and Greenfield achieved what thousands of immigrants long to achieve when coming to the U.S.; namely, the American dream. Cohen and Greenfield appear to have overlooked that fact in their “attempt to delegitimize America,” Reinsch said. 

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The post Critics Have Scoop for Ben & Jerry’s: US Not Built on ‘Stolen’ Land appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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