Ben & Jerry’s has called on the US to give back “stolen Indigenous land” including Mount Rushmore — and now a Native American chief in Vermont said he’d like to talk about the land that’s under the ice cream maker’s headquarters.
The “Chunky Monkey” maker — which previously has waded into controversies around Israel and Palestine — divided customers this week with a July 4 tweet that said: “The United States was founded on stolen indigenous land. This Fourth of July, let’s commit to returning it.”
Ben & Jerry’s added that the US should “start with Mount Rushmore,” writing, “The faces on Mount Rushmore are the faces of men who actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life.”
On Friday, Don Stevens — chief of the Nulhegan Band of The Coosuk Abenaki Nation, one of four tribes descended from the Abenaki that are recognized in Vermont — told The Post in an interview that he “looks forward to any kind of correspondence with the brand to see how they can better benefit Indigenous people.”
Stevens added that if the ice cream maker is “sincere,” it should reach out to him as the company’s corporate headquarters — located at 30 Community Dr. in South Burlington, Vt. — is situated on Western Abanaki land.
“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 the Abenaki view 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 added.
Representatives for Ben & Jerry’s did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Ben & Jerry’s this week also included a call to action with a link to sign a petition to return Mount Rushmore to the Lakota peoples.
Stevens declined to speculate on how the Lakota might react to Ben & Jerry’s comments on Mount Rushmore.
“I have not had a conversation with them [Ben & Jerry’s], so I cannot make a judgement,” he said.
Abanaki is an Algonquian-speaking confederacy of Native Americans that merged with other tribes in the 17th Century to protect themselves from other tribes, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Historians estimated that in the early 1600s, about 10,000 Abenaki lived in what is now Vermont.
There’s currently about 2,500 members left in the state.
Despite the controversy Ben & Jerry’s has landed itself in, Stevens said he’s enjoyed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, though it didn’t seem to think it was anything special.
“I enjoy ice cream. I’ve tried theirs [Ben & Jerry’s] and I’ve tried many others,” he told The Post. “It’s a product like any other product.”
Ben & Jerry’s Fourth of July call received mixed responses, with many calling for boycotts of the brand in a move that echoes the aftermath of Bud Light’s recent partnership with trans model Dylan Mulvaney.
Ben & Jerry’s corporate parent, Unilever, got a taste of the backlash as $2 billion was erased from its market cap in the wake of the July 4 post.
Shares of Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational firm, slid 0.8% Thursday after closing down 0.5% the previous day.
On Friday — three days after Ben & Jerry’s shared its unpatriotic tweet — Unilever’s share price slid another 0.5%.
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