Ben & Jerry’s, an ice cream company known for expressing political viewpoints aligned with the left, has sparked controversy with their recent July 4th message.
In their statement, they claimed that the United States “was founded on stolen Indigenous land” and advocated for it to be returned.
The company specifically called for the initiation of this redemptive process by returning “Mount Rushmore to the Lakota,” a Native American tribe.
“But what is the meaning of Independence Day for those whose land this country stole, those who were murdered and forced with brutal violence onto reservations, those who were pushed from their holy places and denied their freedom? The faces on Mount Rushmore are the faces of men who actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life, to deny Indigenous people their basic rights,” asked Ben & Jerry’s.
The company highlights a valid historical pattern of the United States making treaties with Native American tribes and subsequently breaching them.
However, their statement received criticism for what some perceived as a hypocritical stance. Critics noted that the company’s message lacked any indication of action on their part, despite their operations and founding being rooted in the same stolen land they address.
Conservative comedian Tim Young noted that the company and its owners should “Give ALL of your property and land back to the Native Americans right now then… or shut up.”
Give ALL of your property and land back to the Native Americans right now then… or shut up.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 4, 2023
Kevin Dalton, a Twitter user, shared similar sentiments: “I look forward to the virtue signaling Ben & Jerry’s returning their factory’s land to the Abenaki and Mohican Native Americans that have lived in Vermont for 10,000 years.”
The Political Sock account pondered: “Please help me learn more & take action. In my part of Texas, the Apache took the land from the Tonkawa. Then the Comanche took the land from the Apache. The Mexicans took it from the Spaniards. The Texians took it from the Mexicans. Then Anglos took it. So, who gets the land?”
Twitter user Joseph Massey, who describes himself as “not woke,” added: “First you [Ben & Jerry’s] need to apologize to the millions of cows you milked without consent. Your product is colonialist misogyny in the form of an overpriced desert. Stop feeding the people cow trauma.”
“I’m Oglala Lakota Sioux (related to Chief Sitting Bull) and Navajo,” wrote the account Leslie, “and you embarrass me. We don’t need you to be offended on our behalf. Why don’t you go to Pine Ridge, S.D. and help for real, that rez is a hellhole and needs all the help it can get, if you want to help Natives.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) also joined, saying they have lost “a once-loyal customer” and asked, “When you suggest ‘returning’ the land on which our country has been built for centuries, what exactly do you imagine? Expungement of property rights? Repatriation of most Americans to Europe?”