-By Warner Todd Huston
At least two memorials to Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001 were defaced on the 12th anniversary of the attacks, one in Lafayette, LA and one at Middlebury College in Vermont. In Vermont, it was a handful of radical, left-wing, fake American Indian activists that did the defacing of the memorial there.
The Original 9/11 Flag Display at Middlebury College, Vermont
Memorialists at the Vermont’s Middlebury College had gotten permission of the administration to place 2,977 mini US flags on a campus courtyard to remember those fallen on that terrible day. But early on the morning of Sept. 11, a group of about five students pretending to be Indian activists yanked all the little flags out of the ground and threw them in the trash.
Activisits defacing the memorial
The students, two of whom are Amanda Lickers and Anna Shireman-Grabowski, removed the flags claiming they were “offensive” because the flags were placed on some sort of “Indian burial ground.” This is, of course, a false claim.
After these faux activists pulled out the flags and gave their statements to the college about why they did it, the college administration reported that never once in the college’s history has anyone ever said that the courtyard stood on any Indian burial ground.
The two faux Indian activists listed above recently posted open letters explaining their ignorant actions. They are posted to a radical, enviro-wacko website called Climate-Connections.
Here are the statements showing the intolerance these two have for anyone not agreeing with them:
(Note the bad grammar and misspellings are in the original messages.)
Statement by Amanda Lickers:
i am a young onkwehon:we, a woman, a member of the turtle clan and the onondowa’ga nation of the haudenosaunee confederacy. i have been doing my best to be true to the responsibilities i have inherited through the gift of life, and the relationships i must honour to my ancestors and all our relatives.
for over 500 years our people have been under attack. the theft of our territories, the devastation of our waters; the poisoning of our people through the poisoning of our lands; the theft of our people from our families; the rape of our children; the murder of our women; the sterilization of our communities; the abuse of our generations; the
uprooting of our ancestors and the occupation of our sacred sites; the silencing of our songs; the erasure of our languages and memories of our traditions
i have had enough.
yesterday i went to occupied abenaki territory. i was invited to middlebury college to facilitate a workshop on settler responsibility and decolonization. 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. it was my understanding that this site is occupying an abenaki burial ground; a sacred site.
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.
my heart swelled and i knew in my core that thousands of american flags should not penetrate the earth where my abenaki brothers and sisters sleep. we have all survived so much – and as a visitor on their territories i took action to respect them and began pulling up all of the flags.
i was with 4 non-natives who supported me in this action. there were so many flags staking the earth and their hands helped make this work faster. this act of support by my friends, as settlers, tho small was healing and inspiring. we put them away in black garbage bags and i was confronted by a nationalistic-settler, a young white boy who attends the college demanding i relinquish the flags to him. i held my ground and
confiscated them. i did not want to cave to his support of the occupying, settler-colonial, imperalist state, and the endorsing of the genocide of indigenous peoples across the world.
it is the duty of the college of middlebury to consult with abenaki peoples and repatriate their grounds.
yesterday i said no to settler occupation. i took those flags. it is a small reclamation and modest act of resistance.
in the spirit of resilience, in the spirit of survival
Statement by Anna Shireman-Grabowski:
To the Middlebury community –
Today I, along with a group of non-Middlebury students, helped remove around 3,000 American flags from the grass by Mead Chapel. While I was not the only one engaged in this action and the decision was not solely mine, I am the one who will see you in the dining halls and in the classroom, and I want to take accountability for the hurt you may be feeling while clarifying the motivations for this action.
My intention was not to cause pain but to visibilize the necessity of honoring all human life and to help a friend heal from the violence of genocide that she carries with her on a daily basis as an indigenous person. While the American flags on the Middlebury hillside symbolize to some the loss of innocent lives in New York, to others they represent centuries of bloody conquest and mass murder. As a settler on stolen land, I do not have the luxury of grieving without an eye to power. Three thousand flags is a lot, but the campus is not big enough to hold a marker for every life sacrificed in the history of American conquest and colonialism.
The emails filling my inbox indicate that this was not a productive way to start a dialogue about American imperialism. Nor did I imagine that it would be. Please understand that I am grappling with my complicity in the overwhelming legacy of settler colonialism. Part of this process for me is honoring the feelings and wishes of people who find themselves on the other side of this history.
I wish to further clarify that members of the local Abenaki community should in no way be implicated in today’s events. Nor can I pretend to speak to their feelings about flags, burial sites, or 9/11.
Today I chose to act in solidarity with my friend. I understand that this action is confusing and hurtful for many in my community. I don’t pretend to know if every action I take is right or justified—this process is painful and complicated. I do know that colonialism has been—and continues to be—a real and destructive force in the world that we live in. And for me, to honor life is to support those whose existence is a struggle against colonialism.
Please do not hesitate to email me or approach me if you wish to discuss this in person.
On Sept. 12, college president Ronald D. Liebowitz addressed the matter in an all-school email. He says he was “deeply disturbed by the insensitivity” of “this selfish act of protest” and that “[t]he College has begun a disciplinary investigation of this incident.”
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, MrConservative.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.
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