Updated: Community and Country React

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Updated: Community and Country React

By Gregory Woolston

9/11 Protest

As Kyle Finck reported for the Campus earlier this week, “a 2,977 flag memorial was ripped out of the ground in front of Mead Memorial Chapel shortly before 3:00 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.” This coverage supplemented middbeat‘s original post, featuring the photograph above by middbeat‘s Rachel Kogan.

Both the community and country were quick to react through word and action.

A group of about ten students began replanting the flags in front of Mead Memorial Chapel by 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening; Anthea Viragh captured the photograph below from the reaction. Our upcoming issue (Issue 112, Number 2) will feature a story, gallery and podcast about these students and their effort to replace the memorial.


Late Wednesday evening, middbeat stated that Anna Shireman-Grabowski ’15.5 had “come forward to confirm her involvement in disposing of the American flags.” The alternative news source posted the following statement by Shireman-Grabowski:

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, 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. I understand that this action is confusing and painful for many in my community. I don’t pretend to know if every action I take is right or justified—this process is multi-layered and nuanced. 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 who struggle against it.

Please do not hesitate to email me or approach me if you wish to discuss this in person.

On Thursday morning, President of the College Ronald D. Liebowitz released the following statement to the Middlebury College Community:

Yesterday, on the 12th anniversary of the horrific attack on our nation on September 11, 2001, a group of Middlebury students commemorated the loss of nearly 3,000 lives by placing American flags in front of Mead Chapel as they have done a number of times in the past. Sadly, a handful of people, at least some of them from our campus community, this year chose to desecrate those flags and disrespect the memories of those who lost their lives by pulling the flags from the ground and stuffing them in garbage bags.

We live in an academic community that fosters and encourages debate and discussion of difficult issues.  It is also a community that requires of all a degree of respect and civility that was seriously undermined and compromised by this selfish act of protest.

Like many of you, I was deeply disturbed by the insensitivity of this act.  Destruction of property and interfering with the rights of others to express themselves violates the standards of our community. The College has begun a disciplinary investigation of this incident.

There is always something to learn from differences of opinion.  In this case, the disrespectful methods of the protesters overshadowed anything that might have been learned from the convictions they claimed to promote.  We will not tolerate this kind of behavior.

On Thursday evening, a second protester named Amanda Lickers released a statement on Climate Connections, stating that she helped remove the flags from the grass. Lickers gave her reasoning in the posted statement:

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

Throughout Thursday and Friday, the story gained national attention with various articles appearing on the Addison EagleBurlington Free Press, Business InsiderCBSDaily CallerFox Nation,  Indian Country Today Media Network, Inside Higher EdTimes Argus, University Herald, and WCAX, in addition to a number of blogs, such as Breitbart. Many articles were filled with comments, condemning the protestors’ actions. Further, WPTZ posted a video about the incident, while both the Huffington Post and Addison County Independent reached out to the College and community for additional comments.

Amanda Scherker wrote for the Huffington Post:

That said, Middlebury does not seem to have proof that the memorial had been placed on top of a burial site.

“It has never before been suggested that this is a Native American burial ground,” Sarah Ray, the school’s director of public affairs, told The Huffington Post via email.

Zach Despart at the Addison County Independent published the “Abenaki Response”:

Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe, called the vandalism “disgusting,” and believes the protestors were acting to promote their own political beliefs.

“We didn’t know anything about this and if we had we certainly wouldn’t have sanctioned it,” Stevens said.

He said that Abenakis do not publicize the locations of their burial sites in order to protect them, and that he has no knowledge of any such sites on the Middlebury campus. Stevens said that even if the site of the memorial had been a burial site, the American flags placed in the earth would not have been a desecration.

“Our burial sites honor our warriors and their bravery,” Stevens said. “Putting flags in the earth to honor bravery would not be disrespectful.”

Stevens served in the U.S. Army; his father fought in Korea and his son served in Iraq as a member of the National Guard.

On Friday evening, the College announced a series of events on “protest and civility” planned for next week. The announcement states, “the occasion for these meetings is the destruction of the 9/11 memorial earlier this week, but our larger purpose will be to consider together the responsibilities we have as an academic community to treat one another with respect and tolerance, even as we pursue political and social agendas that sometimes divide us.”

The various sessions are as follows:

  • Professor of Religion Larry Yarbrough on Monday, Sept. 16 at 8:00 p.m. in the Mitchell Green Lounge at McCullough Social Space
  • Professor of American Studies and Director of the Center for the Comparative Study for Race and Ethnicity Roberto Lint Sagarena on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 p.m. in Carr Hall Lounge
  • Professor of Religion James Calvin Davis on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in Carr Hall Lounge
  • Chaplain Laurie Jordan on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the Scott Center
  • Professor of Environmental Studies Rebecca Kneale Gould on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Coltrane Lounge
  • Professor of Political Science Erik Bleich on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 8:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Green Lounge at McCullough Social Space
  • Professor of Economics and Faculty Director of the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship Jon Isham and Professor of Geography Kacy McKinney on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Scott Center

On Monday, Sept. 16 Ben Kinney ’15, co-president of College Republicans, wrote to the Campus, “I just got an email from Public Safety that two boxes containing all of the stolen flags were just dropped off at their door anonymously.”

On Monday, Sept. 23 the Student Government Association Senate released the following statement:

We condemn the method of protest utilized on September 11th outside of Mead Chapel. We believe it was highly disrespectful, destructive and in violation of the the Student Handbook’s policy on respect and community standards. We support the administration’s decision to pursue disciplinary action.

Many members of our campus community, including members of the SGA, have lasting and painful memories from that horrific September morning in 2001. These members viewed the protest as a highly offensive act. Whatever one’s feelings towards American policy and this country’s history, the lives lost on September 11th were those of innocent individuals.

The Senate also condemns the disrespectful, hateful and violent speech exchanged in the wake of the 9/11 flag protest. Much of this speech came from outside of the campus community. But some discussions on campus included unnecessarily malicious and personal attacks. This practice is also disrespectful, destructive and in violation of the the Student Handbook’s policy on respect and community standards.

Protest as a practice encourages valuable debate. Protest enables the exchange of critical ideas, the altering of opinions, and, eventually, change and progress. But as with all things, there are lines that one should not cross. We, as leaders of the campus community, want to foster a forum for productive exchange and dialogue. The protest on September 11th has absolutely no place in this forum. It is our hope that the student body will rise above the malicious actions and speech that have permeated our campus in the last two weeks and create an environment that fosters effective and respectful discourse in our community.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.

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105 Responses to “Updated: Community and Country React”

  1. D on September 11th, 2013 6:55 pm

    Scum of the earth

  2. k on September 11th, 2013 7:43 pm

    absolutely repulsive

  3. L on September 11th, 2013 8:14 pm

    The girl in the photo is Anna Shireman-Grabowski.

  4. Gh0st on September 11th, 2013 10:13 pm

    Lol. “Shireman” is British and “Grabowski” is Polish. She doesn’t even have any Abenaki heritage! What a fool.

  5. E on September 11th, 2013 8:53 pm

    Are Middlebury College students responsible for this disgusting act?

  6. Ben Kinney on September 11th, 2013 8:59 pm

    one of the five culprits appears to be student Anna Shireman-Grabowski of the famed Dalai Lama Welcoming Committee

  7. WithRespect on September 12th, 2013 3:50 am

    Ben, Anna was actually not part of the DLWC (remember the trial). In any case, I don’t understand your motivations for linking the DLWC (or their actions) to this.

  8. L on September 12th, 2013 5:31 pm

    Yes she absolutely was, and se participated in embarrassing herself trying to harass a BP oil exec when he came to speak at the college. She is absolutely one of the DLWC and has contually embarrassed herself with the childish stunts she pulls on campus

  9. M on September 11th, 2013 8:53 pm

    Who is the other in the photo?

  10. P on September 11th, 2013 9:03 pm

    Can disciplinary action be taken against her because she is a student?

  11. Cadlax on September 11th, 2013 11:54 pm

    For what?

  12. kim on September 12th, 2013 1:33 pm


  13. Jason P. Lamoureux on September 12th, 2013 4:12 am

    I think at the very least she could/ should be charged with larceny of property over $250.00.

  14. A true believer in peace on September 11th, 2013 9:04 pm

    🙁 So sad. The point is sorely missed on these kids. There is no honor in drawing attention away from those who lost their lives to fuel a selfish desire for recognition and attention. I imagine Anna applauds herself for “starting a conversation.” Nice shorts.

  15. Mike N on September 11th, 2013 9:31 pm

    This entire comment thread/article/act are polar to what I, as a US citizen, believe what this day should be about.

    W/o trying to impose personal beliefs: Hate/judgement/misunderstanding hasn’t, and will not, get us anywhere as a global society. They’re the reasons this day carries heavy meaning to begin with. The protesters involved, the Midd campus writers, select commenters, etc all could have approached/handled this situation with the sensitivity it deserved, but seemingly jumped the proverbial gun as personal emotion superseded sensible reflection . No human atrocity, neither past nor recent, should be set in comparison to another. However, understanding and the allowance of due respect should be universal, no matter who you are or what you believe.

    In short: Show respect, swallow your pride for a day if need be, and simply love one another.
    We’re all in this together.

  16. Middalum on September 11th, 2013 11:14 pm

    I completely agree with your comment. And I must say, it is very brave of you to say something positive and meaningful amidst the stream of hateful statements made here. What happened on 9/11 was terrible, there’s no disagreeing with that. However, instead of erecting American flags and pushing an aggressive nationalist sentiment, isn’t this a good time to join together regardless of nationality, as a global society, as human beings, and show our commitment to humanity instead of a nation? We should show our support for victims of violence throughout the world, without comparing and without asserting these distinctions such as nationality and history that are meaningless in the face of suffering. You’re right, this required sensitivity and thought, otherwise this day will lose its meaning and become another lucrative trope http://www.vice.com/read/people-and-brands-have-no-idea-how-to-commemorate-911?utm_source=vicetwitterus
    Thanks for your words. You’re absolutely right: American or not, we’re all in this together as human beings.

  17. paulzummo on September 12th, 2013 6:02 pm

    What absolutely meaningless drivel.

  18. steves_59 on September 15th, 2013 11:48 pm

    You lost me at ” instead of erecting American flags and pushing an aggressive nationalist sentiment.” It’s clear where you stand… it’s “aggressive nationalist sentiment” to put up American flags on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack we’ve ever experienced?
    Unfortunately, you’re a moron and your writing sucks.

  19. Carmena Hilliard on September 13th, 2013 11:46 pm

    Written like true liberal trash. You wrote a whole lot of nothing. “No human atrocity, neither past nor recent, should be set in comparison to another.” “Global society…”. What drivel. The reason we remember these atrocities is not to remember one more than the other but to never forget so the same atrocities are not repeated. This act of theft and vandalism has nothing to do with remembrance as much as it is hatred for anything patriotic. After all, they were American flags, right? And it was 9-11, right? Remembering victims who died in a terrorist attack on American soil is not imposing a personal belief.

  20. Upset AMERICAN on September 11th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Its one thing to uproot the American Flag from a memorial on PATRIOTS DAY but its another to pile it on the ground an pack it into a garbage bag. These students has better wish they never cross my path

  21. JN on September 11th, 2013 9:42 pm

    Pathetic attention seekers.

  22. P on September 11th, 2013 9:44 pm

    This is pointless and foul. They should be penalized.

  23. Midd Alum 12.5 on September 11th, 2013 9:58 pm

    Suspend them. They infringed on another group(s) right to speech in their effort to be heard themselves. Completely unacceptable.

  24. Carmena Hilliard on September 13th, 2013 11:38 pm

    Expel them with a bad mark affecting their entire academic career. She screams oppression at one of the most elitist schools in the country.

  25. Danielle Paquette on September 11th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Not even worth a comment, but here is one; ridiculous

  26. Midd13 on September 11th, 2013 10:21 pm

    This is absolutely disgusting behavior. Shame on them and shame on Middlebury if the administration doesn’t take serious disciplinary action against these students.

    The administration gets rid of ADP because college kids were having parties. Meanwhile, these kids are being not only being unpatriotic during a highly sensitive time and infringing upon another club’s work, they’re insulting those whose families were directly effected during 9/11.

    Glad I left Middlebury when I did.

    Midd ’13

  27. Midd13 on September 11th, 2013 10:42 pm

    *Not only being & *affected. This bothers me so much I can’t even get my English straight.

  28. studente2121 on September 12th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Well, last time I check, lack of patriotism is not a crime or misdemeanor. I think people need to stop blowing this up into a major felony and giving her so much attention (because that’s exactly what she has been looking for.)
    It was a disrespectful, childish and thoughtless act by a girl who clearly hasn’t done her research. Anna has been involved in several rather childish protest actions, this is just another one of attempts to stir up conversation about some issue she is passionate about

  29. D on September 12th, 2013 4:45 pm

    No, but check again and you’ll see that theft and destruction of property are. Check twice and you’ll also find that the college’s judicial board doesn’t follow VT law when they determine disciplinary action. That’s why those losers (including Anna) who were part of the Dalai Lama scandal were let off the hook for their previous stupid stunt.

  30. Lee on September 11th, 2013 10:26 pm

    I suppose Mead Chapel was also built atop the burial ground. So, does it need to be taken down too? And what about those trees…

  31. child of a 9/11 victim on September 11th, 2013 10:35 pm

    absolutely disgusting

  32. Alex B on September 11th, 2013 10:36 pm

    I mostly empathize with the people who took the time to put all 2,977 flags into the ground. That must have taken hours. Building something artistic in a public setting, and then coming back the next day to see it all vandalized and stolen – that’s a terrible feeling.

  33. Devon m on September 11th, 2013 10:42 pm

    I dont agree with what she did, but is it not distasteful to put american flags ontop of a abenaki burial ground?

  34. Brad Pitt on September 11th, 2013 11:02 pm

    I know nothing about this Abenaki stuff, but they could’ve made their point in a different way – like petitioned to have the flags somewhere else (it’s not too hard to predict when Sep. 11 is coming around if I’m not mistaken). Tearing up the flags and throwing them into trash bags is far more disrespectful to America and the 9/11 victims and heroes than it is respectful to the Abenaki, and to commit such an offensive act on Sep. 11 of all days is abominable.

  35. Ben Kinney on September 12th, 2013 1:18 am

    The Abenaki Tribe does not claim Middlebury College to be on top of one of their ancestral burial grounds

  36. Michael B on September 11th, 2013 11:09 pm

    Prosecute for theft and destruction of property.

  37. LeftyPinkenbaum on September 11th, 2013 11:22 pm

    Under 3000 dead is one of the mainstay falsehoods of the entire conspiracy, 2:48 PM Sept 11, 2001, estimates of 50,000 dead in New York were bandied about. NIST says, “there were between 8,500 and 9,000 occupants in each building.”

    ABC News said, “the normal total of workers at the WTC Towers was around eighty thousand,” NIST’s total of between seventeen and eighteen thousand in the Towers, makes some sixty two thousand or so absent using ABC News’ figures. They were the Jews who stayed away.

    Lt Richard Smiouskas FDNY, 27 November 2001, after the North Tower air strike “an engineer got me onto the roof of WTC 2” the South Tower, “I saw people in the windows they weren’t jumping, they were being forced out.”

    The NYPD refused to attempt helicopter rescues for those trapped in the burning towers, while the official death toll of some under three thousand, is to fit the four hundred dead Jews on the official list.

    Who were the ones who stayed and threw others from windows, according to Smiouskas testimony, who were sold out when the NYPD choppers never showed up.

  38. the7thson on September 12th, 2013 9:06 am

    Lefty, put down the bong and get back to class.

  39. Wid44 on September 12th, 2013 10:13 am

    Her mom must be so proud of the pile of poo she birthed.

  40. Bob on September 12th, 2013 9:52 am

    Those choppers did attempt to get on the roof. I don’t know if real time video imagery fits into your conspiracy theory, but the plume of smoke that rose from the WTC was over one mile above the top of the towers. How was it possible for an helicopter pilot to discern the top of the towers. NYPD choppers numbered 4 in service that day on 9/11/01. Within the FDNY manuals an FDNY rescue company will team up with an NYPDd chopper unit( FDNY has no choppers) to attempt an airborne roof rescue. You cloak your anti-Zionist approach in some hogwash conspiracy. Know the facts, you should have been there. But your mom was probably carpooling you to some overpriced day care when you were six when it all went down.

  41. Eeya Seeya on September 12th, 2013 9:55 am

    Okay..this is about the fucktard yanking flags. Maybe you had a missed left click somewhere.

  42. Ryan Marc on September 12th, 2013 1:09 pm

    Forced out!!! yeah, BY A FIRE, fire FORCES people to do crazy things, im sure that is what he meant, another quote taken out of context.

  43. Peter on September 11th, 2013 11:26 pm

    Why are people just watching and not interfering with them? Jorts are never intimidating.

  44. Sylvan J. Archibald IV on September 11th, 2013 11:45 pm

    Terrible. Winston, would you fetch me a Coors?

  45. Mitiqtaun on September 12th, 2013 12:26 am

    I understand the concern about the placement of the flags expressed by those who I presume are Native Americans. However, the manor in which this was dealt is abrasive, and while one party may have taken offense by the placing of the flags, the removal offended the other party. It would have been much better to speak with the Dean and have the memorial moved, if possible. As a Native American myself, I am ashamed that we create greater adversity and discrimination by our actions, instead of coming to peaceful resolutions with our words.

  46. ddd on September 12th, 2013 12:50 am

    Whats more troubling to you Anna: 2972
    8” flags that represent “America’s aggressive nationalist sentiment” planted
    an inch into the ground upon an ancient burial site or three
    buildings made of stone dug 20′ into the same burial ground that
    represent Middlebury: the freedom of liberal arts education where issues
    like Native American insensitivity can dribble out of empowered students
    mouths after they engorge themselves with “Thanksgiving” themed
    food at the dining hall? After all, The Strength of the [thanksgiving consumed on the] Hills is his
    Also, no?

  47. Bob on September 12th, 2013 1:06 am

    Dear Anna and her cohorts,
    While you were a fifth grader in bucolic Vermont. Something so heinous happened about 300 miles south of your hometown. Maybe I have awakened my inner sarcasm, but that day was September 11th, 2001. You were maybe 9 or 10, I was a 36 year firefighter who responded to Manhattan box 8087. This was the beginning of a life changing event for all of our country, NYC, and myself. That day was wracked with so many emotions for me. I worried about my friends who responded to the initial alarm, my cousins who were police officers, that day felt as if we were suspended in gelatin. Everything was slowed down, every little detail from that moment became imprinted on ones mind. In the following months I attended so many funerals for my fallen brothers. I heard Amazing Grace played on the bagpipe so many times that the sound of that ancient wail gives me goosebumps to this very day. But the one thing that stands above all else were the fatherless children that clutched closely to their mothers. That is what most affected some of the bravest, toughest men I had the pleasure to work with during my tenure as a member of the FDNY.
    So Anna back to you it is about you isn’t it? I decided to do a little research on Anna Shireman-Grabowski (by the way I love the hyphen it’s like an exponent on ultra liberalism, like Shireman-Grabowski to the tenth). It seems you are in “there”. I use “there” euphemistically for,everywhere there is a camera at some sort of Midd anti-this or anti-that rally. The flags you pulled today represented 2,977 lives from around the globe. This was not political it was Anna. Hey Middlebury wake up ! There wasn’t a more diverse group of people that were killed side by side in one single day than on 9/11. Totally apolitical, a true melting pot of human destruction that you spat upon with your actions today. You didn’t do this for any political reasoning, you did this to inflate yourself as a cutting edge liberal. Or was it your own art form to pull those,like myself, into your arena because the Middlebury College community was too small for a first class ass kicker like yourself.
    Well my hope is that Middlebury takes some action against you and your little feminista group. And Middlebury students if You pass Anna in the quad, or take “How Feminism Shaped Eastern European female weightlifting dominance in post Tito Yugoslavia” class, turn your back to her. She isn’t worth your time it takes to blink. Step up Middlebury, assert your true academic prowess show the world that you are not followers.

  48. Jason P. Lamoureux on September 12th, 2013 4:15 am


  49. D on September 12th, 2013 8:36 am

    Round of applause

  50. the7thson on September 12th, 2013 9:00 am

    She’s nothing but an attention-whore. She got what she wanted, her name in the paper, but at what cost? Loss of dignity…never mind…she clearly had none to begin with.

  51. Joel Quebec on September 12th, 2013 9:23 am

    Awesome. I wonder why, if this was some ancient Abenaki burial site, why aren’t any Abernakis there? Why some white, “I’m doing this to assuage some old guilt and get attention doing and by the way I know everything” bitch there stealing flags that represent her freedom? By the way, I’m from Vermont AND an Abenaki descendant. I’ve seen this shit all over the country. People too young to have really experienced trials and tribulations, so they jump on some kind of liberal band wagon to show they’re cool and “aware” of all the human rights violations America has doled out over the years. What a schlep this person is. I’ve seen it in the South where folks want to equate thugs with Martin Luther King or Medger Evers just because they felt down-trodden; I’ve seen it in Hawai`i where fellow college students felt I had no right to study “their” language because I had already “done enough to their people.” When will this dumbassery end?

  52. Carmena Hilliard on September 13th, 2013 11:36 pm

    She wasn’t standing up for any group. She hates the U.S. and the American flag. She did it for those reasons only.

  53. James Rosse on September 12th, 2013 10:14 am

    I’m another WTC Responder, NY-RRT-1, now NY-TF-2.

    I’m also a Progressive, and a Liberal.

    Anna, you’re an idiot.

    You took a time for reflection, contemplation, and memory, and turned it into a flea circus. You fantasized that you were defending a minority group without knowing anything about the reality of the situation. You *MADE*STUFF*UP* so that you could have a hissy-fit and feel justified.

    Unlike Brother Bob, above, I don’t think that Feminists should turn their backs on you. I think that *all* the students at that school should take a lesson from your fuck-up, as should you. Don’t think for a moment that I’m any less annoyed by your childish behavior than Brother Bob is, because I’m pretty darned annoyed by your childish, attention-seeking behavior.

    Have the ovaries to stand up and say “I was wrong,” and why. Because until YOU stand up and take that stance, you’ll pretend that you’re being oppressed by everyone else. You’ll have to search your soul, if there is one, to figure out where you went wrong, and stand up for that mistake.

  54. Royceb on September 12th, 2013 2:06 pm

    Amen brother!

  55. Ken Peavey on September 12th, 2013 4:24 pm


  56. Karen on September 12th, 2013 11:29 pm

    Bob – I LOVED your post (you are funny!!) and thank you for your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your brothers and sisters on 9/11 and beyond. What an assault on the memory of those lost and their lives unfulfilled…I hope to God “Anna” looks back on this one day and is horrifed by her stupidity.
    Take good care!

  57. Bob on September 13th, 2013 1:24 pm

    Thank you for the support. I made no sacrifice. I LOVED my job as a Firefighter in the greatest city on earth. I just miss the laughter and fun with my friends that actually did make the ultimate sacrifice. That legacy of their memory is what hit me the hardest when this incident occurred. To all the students. I hope you find the same joy I found in my career as you enter the post graduate work force. If one word could define it all, the word is Rewarding. Enjoy life, make someone smile.

  58. Mitiqtaun on September 12th, 2013 2:09 am

    I would like to repeal my former comment. In learning that the student responsible is not Native American, I have many more things to say. First, that the action committed is not in the spirit of Native American Rights, and that the student had to right to impose their interpretation of justice for a group of people of which she obviously does not understand. It is exactly this violence and unnecessary malice that Native Americans have been working towards amending and it is these kinds of people that make it impossible to do so. As a Native American, I say shame on you, student, you have no right to pretend you are doing something in the service of others and I am appalled that you could even consider such an act against the innocent that died on 9/11 to be a valid retribution to the genocide of my people. You have made many enemies for yourself in the Native American community, have infringed on the delicate spirit of my people, and have left us to deal with your “justice” which reflects poorly on us. Next time you think you are doing something in the service of others, please remember that have just committed an incredibly insensitive act and reflect on the fact that you have just showed everyone that you have little understanding of the intricate and delicate subject of social justice. – A Middlebury Native

  59. Talk on September 12th, 2013 3:38 am

    I respectfully recommend you to read the student’s statement and to personally talk to her about your feelings. http://middbeat.org/2013/09/11/flags-commemorating-911taken-down-as-political-statement/

  60. Eeya Seeya on September 12th, 2013 9:53 am

    These bitches need to jump in their douche canoe and paddle down cry me a river…they’re just talibtards.

  61. Carmena Hilliard on September 13th, 2013 11:39 pm

    Mitiquan doesn’t have to talk to anyone about their “feelings”. The student doesn’t deserve the platform.

  62. RLO on September 12th, 2013 8:31 am

    Karma is a beast! When these spoiled rotten brats have something they cherish torn away from them instantly they will rethink their actions. Disgraceful human beings and not worthy of being on American soil!

  63. Sarge on September 12th, 2013 9:16 am

    I want even mention the disrespect to my flag. The flag I spent over a decade serving the country it represents. Bitch I should throw your hippy ass in the trash.

  64. Bob on September 12th, 2013 9:25 am

    I implore the Middlebury College community to shun her. Men and women are dying, as we speak, to protect the rights that Anna has chosen to violate. Within those rights Our Forefathers understood restraint and common sense. In this day and age those basic tenets that make us Americans and at the very foundation human, have been discarded in the name of activism. I applaud the efforts of men and women like Sarge. I would love for Anna to be attached to a rucksack frame, brought into active combat and truly fight for her right to desecrate the one piece of symbolic fabric that ties us together as Americans, the Flag of the United States of America.

  65. Del-Raye Hollister on September 12th, 2013 9:34 am

    Clueless, liberal idiot. I hope they get charged with theft.

  66. Del-Raye Hollister on September 12th, 2013 9:39 am

    Clueless, Liberal, idiots. I hope they get charged with theft.

  67. Bart Kemper on September 12th, 2013 9:40 am

    The call to have a “conversation” about this event is specious at best. The individual falsely claimed the rights of Native Americans to tear down someone else’s free speech. It is absolutely dispicable to steal the name of a native People to exploit it for personal desire, with no support from that People or any other tribe. Freedoms are about respecting the rights of all, especially the ones you disagree with. If you want rights for yourself, and deny it to others, then its not rights you seek but privledge. This individual clearly is a person of elevated privledge to attack a memorial that honored ALL killed, regardless of race, creed, nationality, gender, or political beliefs. The fact some cannot understand it is centuries of traditions to use flags to memorialize losses is another example of how the free speech of others is not respected. If there was a legitimate, respectful, honest desire to change the tone or execution of this memorial, it could have been done prior to the event or afterwards in anticipation of the following year. The actions of tearing down this memorial, and the comments in this thread supporting it or calling for “conversation” show nothing but privledge and no understanding of basic human rights. You cannot claim rights you do not grant others, and you cannot claim respect when none is given.

  68. Nick Thomas on September 12th, 2013 1:55 pm

    Embarrassing for the College. Disciplinary action should be brought against this anti-American, ignorant Liberal. Where are the voices of the student body who placed the flags? Where is the bag of USA flags now? Truly pieces of shit.

  69. RERSRESQ on September 12th, 2013 9:41 am

    Why are they throwing the American flag in a trash bag? Says a lot about today’s Leftists.

  70. Nancy in New Mexico on September 12th, 2013 9:46 am

    Thank you Bob, and others for similar comments. Anna, your behavior makes me sick, and sick at heart.

  71. Eeya Seeya on September 12th, 2013 9:50 am

    I don’t know who this Anna John -Joseph-Jinngleheimer- Smith is but she appears to be a big douche canoe.

  72. Eeya Seeya on September 12th, 2013 9:50 am

    Who’s the other bitch with her?

  73. Joe Black on September 12th, 2013 10:05 am

    Disgusting. Post the names and faces of these traitors for the rest of the world to see.

  74. snafubar on September 12th, 2013 10:32 am

    Not in the liberal LA LA land called Vermont? Commie central.

    Who’d a thunk it?

  75. Matt Carlin on September 12th, 2013 10:56 am

    i’m sorry but if you put the American Flag in a trash bag, then you deserve a kick in the face and i’d be more than glad to do it to them.

  76. Del-Raye Hollister on September 12th, 2013 11:01 am

    Clueless, Liberal, idiot.

  77. jkhadley289 on September 12th, 2013 11:39 am

    Only one question: WHY did no one else exercise their right to take those flags (which she did NOT buy and had NO right to) and simply replant them as she pulled them up? It is amazing to think that no one jumped up IN HER WAY AND STOPPED HER. I only wish I had been there. Protesting is fine, but what exactly is she hoping to accomplish? And as seen from others on this post, the people for whom she was protesting HAD NO ISSUE. In fact, she could have accomplished SO much more had she simply added something indicating that this site was a burial ground and that the flags could and should also represent those who were interred! Add a flag or totem (not sure if the Abenaki had flags) to the site in remembrance! Oh, but that would not have generated headlines or outrage or, more importantly, notice for her. No, it had to be something “destructive”.

    We each have beliefs. We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can exercise those beliefs. I only wish I would have been there to exercise mine.

    To all those who perished on 9/11, you will never be forgotten.

  78. sctanker on September 12th, 2013 11:41 am

    Yeah, like anyone here was concerned about any Native American…heck, Indian…burial ground. What have you done to help LIVING ones? What have you done to learn about real tribal cultures? Most likely, nothing. More spoiled “Rage Against My Allowance” Poverty Studies majors. You have a right to protest, but you do not have a right to steal. Thanks for giving people the evidence via this alleged “article.”

  79. Jon on September 12th, 2013 12:00 pm

    Although the manner in which the flags were taken out of the ground may not have been the greatest idea in the world, thought should have been put into the placement of those flags. The Abenaki burial site is most likely considered sacred. How would we feel if another nation’s flags were placed over the graves in a military memorial graveyard?

  80. bostonmaggie on September 12th, 2013 6:05 pm

    The Abenaki have not claimed that land. Anna has furnished no proof of her claims.

  81. jenkem5 on September 12th, 2013 12:34 pm

    Disgusting filthy lesbians . They should be imprisoned for 20 years and then deported. Traitorous whores.

  82. American Soldier on September 12th, 2013 12:55 pm

    Protesting is ok. Disrespecting my flag is not. Your parents obviously failed to teach you respect. I blame them for your behavior.

  83. Kim on September 12th, 2013 1:31 pm

    I wonder if the perps are college students–if they are and they shouldn’t get any kind of US grants or scholarships, they should be revoke.

  84. Kim on September 12th, 2013 1:32 pm

    Isn’t this stealing?

  85. Disgusted American on September 12th, 2013 1:58 pm

    I would like to know if a “Professor” or any other faculty member had prior knowledge of this going on. Did they supported this act or just let it happen? Too often these days Teachers in High Schools and Universities are trying to instill “THEIR” personal agenda’s into the minds of young students rather than just being responsible and teaching.

    Not only was the thoughtful Memorial defaced, but the complete and utter disregard for the sanctity of the American
    flag and everything it stands for was thrown in the toilet by this girl and her cohort. What she did is no different than
    painting a swastika on a Temple. Having the audacity to think YOUR objections are more important than others, especially a Memorial (and temporary at that) that is not even a political statement, is pure and utter ignorance. Maybe she should go learn a real lesson and practice this sort of ignorance in countries like Syria, Somalia and the Sudan. Let’s see how well a reception she will have there.
    Don’t ever take for granted what you have here in America.

    I have to ask:the Middlebury faculty, where do you stand???? MIDDLEBURY ALUMNI where do you stand? DO SOMETHING!

  86. middstudent on September 12th, 2013 3:54 pm

    Anna is known for being involved in student groups that protest with rather questionable methods. This is not the first time she has been incredibly disrespectful in an attempt to raise awareness for a cause she wants to promote. The faculty and student body completely disapproves of her actions and finds them highly disrespectful. She is not representative of Middlebury College.
    – A current student at Middlebury.

  87. Royceb on September 12th, 2013 2:08 pm

    Why did someone not put their foot up her boney ass and stop her from taking the flags?

  88. irishgirl91 on September 12th, 2013 2:11 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if bumper stickers have taught me anything, “we don’t own the land”. I am pretty sure the Natives would be fine honoring our dead so long as we don’t desecrate the space. Now, my grandfather was born, raised and is half Pueblo indian straight off the reservation. Forgive me miss while I say you are an idiot and feel that your beliefs are more important than a brief display of the shared grief that is 9-11.

  89. ginger on September 12th, 2013 2:41 pm

    putting our flag in a garbage bag??? really??

  90. Jay Beach on September 12th, 2013 3:24 pm

    A joint effort between warring parties and you would think this would be a good thing. Then some thin-skinned jerkoff has to go spoil it all. This was not a desecration. If these people do not like the American flag, maybe we should find another place for them to live, Abenaki Nation or not. Our mistake was not having the American Indian become part of our nation but forcing them to live separate lives. Whatever happened to all the multiculturalism and acceptance that liberals give lip service to?

  91. cargosquid on September 12th, 2013 4:11 pm

    And why were those five protestors not physically stopped?

  92. Alohajonny on September 12th, 2013 5:21 pm

    And no one did a thing? Typical…

  93. Jim ,Retired Army, Warren, VT on September 12th, 2013 10:27 pm

    My first thought was “another Jane Fonda rich girl with nothing to do and not getting enough attention”.

  94. Douglas Lloyd Buchholz on September 12th, 2013 10:37 pm

    Please inform the PUBLIC of VT etc how these people are Abenakis, genealogically, historically and socially. I do not think they are Abenakis at all. They showed absolutely no proof to the State of VT nor the Public on any real legitimate level whatsoever. SO how is this woman able to do this (creating a public nuisance and a mess) based on some “oral history” of an alleged “Abenaki” Burial underneath….. ? Prove they are ABENAKIS, they should do. Their recognition is fraudulent and based on BS just like this woman is doing.

  95. Jennifer on September 13th, 2013 10:50 am

    We should introduce Anna to Jane Fonda. After 40 years people still remember Hanoi Jane. You cannot outlive stupid.

  96. Jeff Tisdale on September 13th, 2013 1:12 pm

    Are there no Men in Middlebury? Is this an all girls campus?

  97. JohnAnnArbor on September 13th, 2013 5:41 pm

    How pretentious. These “protesters” really think highly of themselves, don’t they?

  98. Kelly Dennis '07 on September 13th, 2013 5:59 pm

    I was one of the very few Native Americans who attended Middlebury College and the only one I knew of in the class of 2007. I was shocked to come across this story on Indian Country Today. I have a deep seated feeling of humiliation that I’m having trouble letting go of after reading the story, Anna’s statement, and all of your comments. As the only student who actively identified as a Native person in my class, I struggled to overcome cultural barriers and confront racist stereotypes and now I feel pain for present Native students who will no doubt suffer from the embarrassment and shame of having people use their culture to make such a disrespectful and irresponsible statement.

    In 2004 I founded and became President of Voices of Indigenous People (VIP) at Middlebury College. VIP served to represent the small indigenous population on campus, recruit more Native students and faculty, and educate the Middlebury community about indigenous peoples around the world. In fact, I founded VIP after a campus organization hosted a “Cowboys and Injuns” where something along the lines of the following message was sent out: “if dressed as a Cowboy you can roam around and drink whatever you want; but come in Injun garb and you’ll be forced to your reservation in the corner and have fire water poured down your throat.”

    With the support of friends I formed and lead a group of over fifty students distressed by this and other injustices to protest the event. We related it to past offences such as the vandalism of the coming-out closet and the “Blackface Party.” Our protest ultimately created a healthy dialogue on diversity issues throughout the campus and an agreement was made between the college and student groups to host sensitive themes for social gatherings. That, Anna, is how you hold a proper protest for indigenous issues.

    I tried calling the Middlebury Student Activities Office to see if VIP is still around after this incident. I never thought I’d see the day where I would be relieved to hear that the office is not aware of whether VIP is still active.

    Protesting for recognition of Native American burial rights and sacred site issues is an important, spiritual, and sensitive endeavor. I’ve helped to organize my tribe’s own ancestral burial ground protection protests. However, never would it have occurred to me to do so in front of the Middlebury Chapel unless some Abenaki people approached me for VIP’s assistance. Even then, I would not have handled it in the way Anna and the other protestors had by defacing the September 11 memorial. Especially not as a Native American person from a New York tribe!

    I am now mortally disgusted by all of this and the consequence that the comments for this story are starting to show. Comments such as “the Abenaki people died out long ago even before colonialism.” NOT TRUE! An Abenaki student went to Middlebury while I was there and she was a few years my underclassman. She joined VIP and we learned from her about the Abenaki culture, history, and atrocities such as the government systematically forcing the sterilization of her people.

    I pray that the Middlebury community can find a way to resolve this matter appropriately for all impacted and not overlook or further debase Native American people. I honestly feel like this group of protestors tried to take cultural appropriation to a whole new level and it makes me sick.

  99. baal on September 13th, 2013 6:12 pm

    Here’s a youtube vid of Amanda Lickers, the 2nd “activist” named in this mess


    I want you all to listen really close to what’s being said here. According to her statement she was invited to the university to ” facilitate a workshop on settler responsibility and decolonization.”

    This was not actually written by the Onion. She’s dead serious, and that’s the problem. The post colonial studies mob has successfully leveraged academic language to pre-shame anyone who disagrees with them as a racist. It’s called white privilege.

    The reality is that most of these folks are entitled white people. (Some of them take a step further and claim some kind of minority affiliation to gain associate victim status.) And what they have done is this and nothing less; they have seized political power by subverting the dialectic. It’s a self serving proposition. They don’t care one whit about the poor or minorities, these people are merely useful idiots in their march.

    To reiterate: Affluent, privileged white progressives have seized real political power by subverting language and using minorities as props.

    And to add insult to injury–your taxpayer dollars are funding it.

  100. Leah on September 13th, 2013 10:47 pm

    So Ms. Lickers views Middlebury College as occupied territory and decries the “campus whose stone wall structures weigh heavy on the landscape.” Ms. Shireman-Grabowski is a Middlebury student who pays thousands of dollars in tuition and fees to maintain those same stone wall structures. Shouldn’t Ms. Lickers be protesting against Ms. Shireman-Grabowski?

    Come to think of it, Ms. Lickers pays some form of tax – be it state income tax, property tax, or even sales tax. So she is funding the stone wall structures too! Maybe she should vandalize her own home in protest.

  101. crhis on September 14th, 2013 3:21 am

    dont tell bob what he should or shouldn’t do. it’s not a coincidence there were four woman and one man in the group. also, you should google wage gap myth. stop believing everything you read on salon.com and do some research for yourself.

  102. Bob on September 14th, 2013 9:14 am

    I enjoy the fact that you have turned this into an attack on women, and not Anna. I’m going to now drop the sarcasm and give you some real Freudian psychological basis for what Anna is:
    Anna is a pure feminist. She has found a niche community,within the Middlebury College community, called FAM. The subgroup has given her the confidence to stand up and be an activist for all causes. She is either (A.) a sociopath who acts on her own without following the mores and ethics of society in general. (B.) is doing these alternative societal demonstrations in an attempt to impress someone she is infatuated with or she is infatuated with herself to the point that her ” ego ” is compelling her, see (A) or (C.) she is trying hard to fit into this sub-group. She is trying to be a leader within the uber-liberal fringe society that she throws all conventional wisdom out the window, goes overboard in trying, and she thinks this is just fine.
    So to the feminist group that has now made this into another argument. Of any one group Anna is most defined by is that of a feminist activist. She is so much more that, than an Abenaki Native, a fighter against Neo-Colonialism and imperialism. If your group, FAM, is true to your cause you should disassociate yourself with Ms. Shireman-Grabowski and get back to the business of fighting for true equality for women in all facets of society. Prior to reading these two feminist agenda replies I had no idea she was a feminist. Feminism worked best from my sarcastic perspective. I just speculated, but you confirmed my suspicion and ergo brought feminism into the fray. My wife is a bank executive, she and I know first hand about upper tier wage disparity between men and women.

  103. Charlotte on September 18th, 2013 12:25 pm

    What easily led and feeble minded young women thought that this “protest” would be viewed as anything but disgust and loathing? This “protest” wasn’t about anything more than the unfocused righteous indignation of two young women who are apparently unable to “visibilize” (This still makes me chuckle. Perhaps if Ms. Shireman-Grabowski spent more time in class and less time appeasing her white guilt she wouldn’t make such mistakes.) how their actions will be viewed by those outside of their odd little circle. Hopefully at some point they will grow up and learn that grand gestures are always secondary to calm and rational conversation. Conversation solves problems, not destruction of property. Shame on Ms. Lickers for destroying someone else’s property to protest destruction of her ancestor’s property. Shame on Ms. Shireman-Grabowski for appropriating a Native American cause to serve her own desire to be noticed.

  104. Alumn 2010 on September 20th, 2013 10:17 am

    what disciplinary action has been taken? it’s been over a week.

  105. jesse on November 11th, 2014 8:56 pm



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