Letter: The Allen brothers are symbols of wrong done to Abenaki

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Editor of the Reformer,

Perhaps now is the time to retire Ira and Ethan Allen from the steps of the State House. Most Vermont history paints them as patriots who are our founding fathers. What they found were communities, villages of Abenaki living along the rivers, fishing, farming the land, hunting the forests and joining in confederacy with other indigenous nations to preserve the land and sovereignty over it.

Well, how do we think the Allen brothers acquired real estate and declared Vermont Indian-free? Why, they went to the Continental Congress and swore there were none living in Vermont, that they had all gone away or died of disease. To avoid extermination after seeing the damage the invaders could render, they "hid in plain sight," in caves, in swamps and deep in the woods. Both of the brothers would benefit from the genocide of Abenaki, if not directly participating in it.

It's all good to kick a Genoese off his pedestal and raise flags against injustice and racism, but the very heart of racism in this state lies in the breast of the European invasion and ensuing colonizers. Ira and Ethan Allen are symbols of the wrongs done to the Abenaki, who never ceded land, abandoned it, nor were conquered — the three criteria for transfer of property in 1776.

Perhaps they could be moved to the entrance of the Ethan Allen homestead, or the entrance to the Air National guard, the so-called "Green Mountain Boys," named after Rogers' Raiders, who carried out the Abenaki massacres at Odanak.

Joelen Mulvaney

Barre City, June 13

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