So much attention to the goddess Ceres atop the golden dome in Montpelier, and none paid the nefarious characters beneath her feet. I am not, here, referring to legislators. I am referring to the two sculptures representing Ira and Ethan Allen displayed in full view for the world to see in the portico and on the side entrance.

We are always discovering ourselves as a people and what we find out can make us change our thinking. We are in the process of uncovering some of the more disquieting behaviors and notions in our society both historically and in our midst today, especially in the examination of our nation's history of racism.

In Vermont, that history began with the arrival of Cabot and Champlain and the genocide of indigenous populations. Ira and Ethan Allen used every means possible to eliminate Abenaki and claim their territory as their own to sell at will. Those means included murder, chemical warfare and lying to the Continental Congress that there were no indians in Vermont, and today, Ira and Ethan Allen are lauded as the founders of now-called Vermont with a place of honor, the only ones, in front of our State House.

These images of genocide and racism need to be removed to the interior of the building or another more appropriate site with proper and accurate interpretive labels that illuminate their role in our history of oppressing indigenous people and suppressing their rights, from the first non-native fort to State vs. Elliott [1992].

Joelen Mulvaney


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