The destruction of the Middlebury College 9/11 memorial was senseless and ugly even by the standards of the left. The two women behind it were left-wing radicals claiming that their actions were taken on behalf of an Abenaki Indian burial ground– a position thoroughly rejected by the Abenaki.
Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe, called the vandalism “disgusting,” and believes the protesters were acting to promote their own political beliefs.
“We didn’t know anything about this and if we had we certainly wouldn’t have sanctioned it,” Stevens said.
He said that Abenakis do not publicize the locations of their burial sites in order to protect them, and that he has no knowledge of any such sites on the Middlebury campus. Stevens said that even if the site of the memorial had been a burial site, the American flags placed in the earth would not have been a desecration.
“Our burial sites honor our warriors and their bravery,” Stevens said. “Putting flags in the earth to honor bravery would not be disrespectful.”
Stevens served in the U.S. Army; his father fought in Korea and his son served in Iraq as a member of the National Guard.
Anna Shireman-Grabowski, a college senior, invited Amanda Lickers, a Canadian left-wing activist to campus to promote “decolonization”. Shireman-Grabowski and Licker were both involved in environmental anti-industry protests.
In a phone interview, Lickers identified herself as the leader of the group and said she had “absolutely no regrets” about her actions.
Lickers said she was invited to campus by the Associate Dean of Students for Student Activities & Orientation J.J. Boggs to give a workshop on “settler responsibility and colonization.”
College spokeswoman Sarah Ray disputed this and said Lickers was invited by Shireman-Grabowski.
At the workshop, which was held at noon on Wednesday, a Middlebury student said the campus was the site of an Abenaki burial ground, Lickers said.
Based on this information, Lickers made a “spontaneous” decision to remove the flags after she discovered their presence on a campus lawn.
So it was obviously well-thought out. Which is about what you would expect from Lickers. Who is Amanda Lickers?
According to her bio, Lickers is “a mixed-race Onkwehonwe cis-woman (Turtle Clan, Onöndowága, of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy)”
Ciswoman means that she’s not a tranny. It’s not clear why she felt she had to clarify that in her bio except that she was involved in tranny activist.
Mixed-race means she has maybe one parents with some Native American ancestry. In other words, she’s another of the politically active fake indians.
There is no mention of the Turtle Clan of the Onöndowága anywhere except in her own press releases.
Another bio says “Amanda Lickers is an anarchaqueer Onkwehon:we cis-woman.” In other words, she’s gay and likes to make up words, but is loosely affiliated with some of the environmental anarchist movements.
Over on Indigenous Action, where Amanda Lickers posted her claim that she had been acting on behalf of the Abenaki, the response was not positive.
i walked across this campus whose stone wall structures weigh heavy on the landscape. the history of eugenics, genocide and colonial violence permeate that space so fully like a ghost everywhere descending…
walking through the campus i saw thousands of small american flags. tho my natural disdain for the occupying colonial state came to surface, in the quickest moment of decision making, in my heart, i understood that lands where our dead lay must not be desecrated. in my community, we do not pierce the earth. it disturbs the spirits there, it is important for me to respect their presence, their want for rest.
The granddaughter of Chief Leonard Blackie Lampman had this response
As the granddaughter of Chief Leonard Blackie Lampman let me tell you how I view your desecration of a memorial that holds meaning to me– you have disgraced MY family, MY people, MY heritage, and MY history. Do NOT call yourself sister to me. There are ways to accomplish getting ones point across without being disrespectful and hurtful. Case in point a DOCUMENTED Abenaki burial ground which now hosts a beautiful memorial on the banks of the Missisquoi River on Monument Rd in Swanton/Highgate. You have slapped in the face everything my family has worked for in gaining honor to be able to call oneself Abenaki. You have dishonored the memory of my grandfather a Chief and US Soldier. My Grandfather surely is shaking his head in shame at you supposed educated future leaders of our nation.
Here’s one from a former campus Native American activist
In 2004 I founded and became President of Voices of Indigenous People (VIP) at Middlebury College. VIP served to represent the small indigenous population on campus, recruit more Native students and faculty, and educate the Middlebury community about indigenous peoples around the world.
Protesting for recognition of Native American burial rights and sacred site issues is an important, spiritual, and sensitive endeavor. I’ve helped to organize my tribe’s own ancestral burial ground protection protests. However, never would it have occurred to me to do so in front of the Middlebury Chapel unless some Abenaki people approached me for VIP’s assistance. Even then, I would not have handled it in the way Anna and the other protestors had by defacing the September 11 memorial. Especially not as a Native American person from a New York tribe!
I am now mortally disgusted by all of this and the consequence that the comments for this story are starting to show. Comments such as “the Abenaki people died out long ago even before colonialism.” NOT TRUE! An Abenaki student went to Middlebury while I was there and she was a few years my underclassman. She joined VIP and we learned from her about the Abenaki culture, history, and atrocities such as the government systematically forcing the sterilization of her people.
I pray that the Middlebury community can find a way to resolve this matter appropriately for all impacted and not overlook or further debase Native American people. I honestly feel like this group of protestors tried to take cultural appropriation to a whole new level and it makes me sick.
Cultural appropriation is exactly what it is. A group of left-wing environmental activists, one of whom appears to be another professional fake Native American, vandalized a 9/11 memorial on a non-burial ground.