South Dakota's Kristi Noem Is in a Ben & Jerry's Feud

Ice cream makers say Mount Rushmore should go back to Indigenous people, but governor disagrees
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2023 10:56 AM CDT
South Dakota Governor in a Ben & Jerry's Feud
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

One political fight emerged over the July 4th holiday, and it's still percolating. After ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's called for the return of Mount Rushmore to Indigenous people, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem fired back on Fox News. "I'm not going to listen to a bunch of liberal Vermont businessmen who think they know everything about this country and haven't studied our history," said the conservative Republican. She said the four presidents on the monument—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln—"led us through some challenging times" and the monument itself is "the greatest symbol of our freedom," per the Hill.

In its holiday post, the company founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield didn't object to the four presidents, but to the fact that their monument was put up on "stolen Indigenous land." They pointed to a 1980 Supreme Court ruling establishing that fact, noting that the Sioux rejected $105 million in compensation because the tribe wanted the land back, not money, per Yahoo News. It's now time to return the land, says the company, which adds that Rushmore should be only the start. "The US was founded on stolen Indigenous land," reads the post. "Let's commit to returning it." (More Mount Rushmore stories.)

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