In a brash July 4 message, Ben & Jerry’s is calling on America to return its “stolen Indigenous land,” tweeting the message and emblazoning it on its website.
July 4 celebrations “distract from an essential truth about this nation’s birth,” the ice cream maker asserts. “The United States was founded on stolen Indigenous land. This Fourth of July, let’s commit to returning it.”
“Start with Mount Rushmore,” the company, headquartered in Burlington, Vt., says. “That 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.
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“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,” the invective concludes.
National radio host Todd Starnes blasted Ben & Jerry’s and suggested they should immediately surrender its corporate headquarters and factories to the Indians.
“They are literally milking their cows on stolen farmland,” said Starnes. “And for that matter, they should also return all their dairy cows. That cream belongs to the tribal people.”
Ben & Jerry’s July 4 proclamation provoked immediate response and boycott demands on social media, the New York Post reports, with country singer John Rich—who has been outspokenly opposed to Bud Light’s transgender tie-up—tweeting back: “Make @benandjerrys Bud Light again.”
Another challenger wrote, “Just when you think @benandjerrys couldn’t go any lower—they pull this stunt. Boycott Ben and Jerry’s.”
One Twitter user called Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield out for their hypocrisy, writing to the “the Bud Light of ice cream”:
“Seriously now, close shop—or better yet, donate your business and everything you own in these lands that rightfully belong to the Indigenous people—apologize to them, and return to the continent your ancestors came from. Now.”
Ben & Jerry’s says on its website that its social mission is to “eliminate injustices in our communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities.”
Ben & Jerry’s has previously supported the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ actions, and its founders Cohen and Greenfield have demonstrated in Washington, D.C., alongside actor and social activist Jane Fonda, against fossil fuels.
In 1985, the company founded the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to fund community-oriented projects, funding it with 7.5% of Ben & Jerry’s annual pre-tax profits.