Skip to comments.Flags commemorating 9/11 taken down as political statement
Posted on 09/13/2013 7:52:27 AM PDT by raccoonradio
UPDATE (9/12/13): Here is part of a statement written by Amanda Lickers, the woman Shireman-Grabowski claimed to assist in removing the flags. Lickers says she is a member of the Onondowaga Nation, which is a part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The statement was posted in an article on the website Climate Connections:
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.
UPDATE (9/12/13): Everyone from HuffPo to India Country Media Network has covered the action. It has seriously gone viral.
UPDATE (9/12/13 11:51AM): Business Insider also posted about it on their website.
UPDATE (9/12/13 11:16AM): Fox Nations website has posted an excerpt of Campus editor Kyle Fink 14s story.
UPDATE (9/12/13 10:50AM): President Ronald D. Liebowitz has 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.
UPDATE (9/11/13 11:44PM): Anna Shireman-Grabowski 15.5 has come forward to confirm her involvement in disposing of the American flags and that she is the person kneeling in the picture. She also said that the other individuals were non-Middlebury students. In a written statement she wrote:
Today I chose to act in solidarity with my friend, an Indigenous woman and a citizen of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy who was appalled to see the burial grounds of another Indigenous nation desecrated by piercing the ground that their remains lay beneath.
Weve posted the entirety of her statement below the jump.
UPDATE: The flags have been replaced by Harris and a group of students (see comments below post).
ORIGINAL: At around 2:45PM this afternoon a group of people took down the American flags placed in front of Mead Chapel by the College Republicans and Democrats (Updated 8:45PM) to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Four women and one man piled them into garbage bags and took them away.
Julia Madden 14 and College Republican member Ben Kinney Harris 15 confronted the group as they disposed of the flags. According to Madden, the group only identified themselves by saying they were there on behalf of the Abenaki people. middbeat does not yet know who the individuals are and if any of them are Middlebury students.
When Madden and Kinney asked about what they were doing they replied that it was disrespectful to the Abenaki people to put the Abenakis colonizers flags on their land. When Kinney asked if he could have the flags back since his organization purchased them, they refused and left with them.
I was dumbfounded that someone could be that disrespectful about something that affected everyone in this country and that everyone should recognize, said Madden in a phone interview.
If you have any more information about this or thoughts about it, please send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
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 todays events. Nor can I pretend to speak to their feelings about flags, burial sites, or 9/11.
>>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
Just SHUT-UP and open a CASINO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is this in Middlebury, VT?
Two of five unidentified protestors uproot flags dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in a midday protest.
A 2,977 flag memorial was ripped out of the ground in front of Mead Memorial Chapel shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 by a group of five protestors claiming that the flags were on top of a sacred Abenaki burial site.
The flags meant to commemorate each of the 2,977 lives taken in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks have been posted in the grass between Mead Chapel and the Davis Family Library annually in a joint effort between the College Republicans and Democrats for nearly 10 years.
Ben Kinney 15, president of the College Republicans, spent two hours putting the flags outside of Mead Chapel on Tuesday night, and happened to be walking up the hill towards the chapel when he saw four females and one male stuffing the miniature flags into black trash bags.
I got there just as they were taking the very last of them out of the ground and putting them in piles, he said. At first, I (thought) the group was comprised of College Democrats helping put the flags away before the rain rolled in, but then I realized what they were doing.
Kinney said the protestors told him they were confiscating the flags in protest of Americas imperialism. Julia Madden 14, was walking back from Proctor when she saw the five people uprooting the flags.
I was just getting out of class, but when I saw what they were doing I decided to say something, she said. They were quickly putting them into two big plastic trash bags. Im mad at myself for not being more aggressive. I was just dumbfounded. There was no discussion. No compromise. We asked if we could put them somewhere else, but they wouldnt listen.
Your people lost, squaw.
Get over it.
They won in Massachusetts
Legacy of 20 years of constant attacks on Israeli "settlers" on "stolen" "Palestinian land".
I could not read past the first few sentences.
This woman is totally deranged and consumed with bitterness for events which have no more bearing on her than Henry VIII’s relations with Anne Boleyn has on you & I.
No, no...resist, I much...
The dirtbags stole flags that belonged to someone else? Have them arrested.
Shouldn’t these people be charged with theft? Those flags cost money, even if it was 50 cents each, that’s still a lot added up. Refusing to give them back after being asked sure reads like theft to me.
Howie Carr list ping
No doubt she’ll reply that “well, you stole our native land”.
Two wrongs must make a right.
I'm taking odds that she will receive a text message from Andrew Weiner within the next 3 days.
I don’t think the sheriff will buy into that...
Theft of property. If those flags cost more than $0.335/each, times 3,000, then it’s felony (4th degree) grand larceny in NY State.
From Midd. College’s facebook by Mark Carolla:
When I called President Liebowitz’s office yesterday I spoke with Ms.McBride and strongly urged and respectfully demanded as a member of the Middlebury Community that those responsible for this heinous, arrogant and disrespectful act be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law — theft, destruction of property, vandalism, and for the non students tresspassing come to mind at the local level...violation of civil rights also comes to mind. As for the Midd students who were seen doing this - this is obviously a violation of everything Middlebury stands for and standards of conduct.
As a very minimum they should be suspended for a year and I believe that expulsion would be an appropriate punishment - for the non-students getting a court order restraining them from ever coming onto campus should be easy. I’m hoping Presidrent Liebowitz will do more than deplore and am encouraged by his “disciplinary investigation” which I hope will result in severe sanctions opposed on those who did this. Thank you.
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