As many Americans celebrated Independence Day, Ben & Jerry's was reminding people about the country's complicated past.
In a tweet that's reached about 20 million users, the ice cream maker calls for the country to commit to returning "stolen" land.
"The United States was founded on stolen Indigenous Land," Ben & Jerry's tweeted. "This Fourth of July, let's commit to returning it."
This 4th of July, it's high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it. Learn more and take action now: https://t.co/45smaBmORH pic.twitter.com/a6qp7LXUAE
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) July 4, 2023
Ben & Jerry's then refers people to its website, which says the U.S. can start by returning Mount Rushmore.
"The Great Sioux Nation, as the tribes in the area were collectively known, was forced to surrender its land and relocate to smaller reservations on land that the government considered 'useless,'" the company says.
In 1868, the U.S. government entered into a treaty with the Sioux Nation, recognizing Black Hills, where Mount Rushmore was eventually sculpted, as Indigenous land.
The U.S. broke the treaty and claimed the land after gold was discovered in the area.
"From there, in 1927, they watched as their holy mountain, now located on land known as South Dakota, was desecrated and dynamited to honor their colonizers," Ben & Jerry's states.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that the U.S. violated the constitution by taking the land, and ordered the government to pay the Sioux Nation $17.1 million, plus interest, which has grown to over $1 billion.
The tribes have refused to collect the money, claiming it would legitimize a transaction that never took place. Instead, they have continued to call for the U.S. to return the land.