Amanda Lickers, leader of the protest that led to the uprooting of nearly 3,000 American flags planted to memorialize the victims of the September 11 attacks on the Middlebury Campus has worked with Vermont environmental organizations in the past familiar with her radical beliefs and tactics.
In an interview with the Addison Independent on Friday, Lickers claimed that she had been invited to the school by Associate Dean of Students for Student Activities & Orientation J.J. Boggs to lead a discussion on settler responsibility. But according to a former college official with knowledge of the protocol for bringing speakers to campus, this was not the case. That official says that “the Student Activities office assist student organizations in bringing speakers to campus, the staff do not initiate or invite speakers. The general procedure is that a student organization submits a request to the Middlebury College Activities Board (MCAB) Speakers Committee for review, and if approved it moves to Student Activities for a final review and contracting.”
Although Lickers is from Canada, she has worked in the past with environmental groups in Vermont. On August 2, Rising Tide Vermont, a grassroots organizations that claims to confront “the root causes of climate change” and which has led the charge against the Vermont Gas Addison Natural Gas Project to build a pipeline between Burlington and Rutland posted a call on their Facebook page asking for help raising $1500 to bring Lickers to a rally held on August 17th and 18th.
The page that they linked to shows that 22 donors, including Rising Tide Vermont, contributed $943. At the rally, Lickers was to lead a workshop called “Anti-colonial Earth Defense,” billed as an effort to “build our mutual understandings of how and why particular tactics and/or strategies are effective, and in what ways they are effective, by using common on-the-ground direct action examples” and to “deepen participants understandings of anti-colonial struggle and the context of environmental justice on Turtle Island.” Turtle Island is a term used by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to refer to North America.
Despite their connection to Lickers and experience with her radical views, Rising Tide Vermont released the following statement denying knowledge or involvement with the anti-9/11 memorial action. The statement neither condemns the action nor the tactics of those who participated:
On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, five individuals removed nearly 3,000 flags from a memorial erected to honor the lives lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. This was not an act of Rising Tide Vermont, nor was Rising Tide Vermont aware of this action until after it happened.
As Rising Tide Vermont understands it, this action was intended to highlight the legacy of colonialism in North America, and not to dishonor or offend the victims of 9/11.
The members of Rising Tide Vermont who participated in this action were acting as individuals, not as representatives of or with endorsement from Rising Tide Vermont.
The individuals involved were acting in support of a member of the Onondowa’ga Nation, who was visiting the campus for a workshop on anti-colonialism. The woman asked the other participants in the action to help her remove the flags in an act she described as “…(saying) no to settler occupation,” and a, “small reclamation and modest act of resistance.”
Rising Tide Vermont supports anti-colonial solidarity work. Rising Tide Vermont deplores the loss of innocent lives everywhere.
Rising Tide Vermont ignored requests to comment further for this story.
Lickers has spoken widely about decolonization, and refers to all those who came to North America after the initial migration across the Bering Strait as “settlers” and has said in the past that she “hopes to work towards dismantling all systems of oppression, slashing at their social, cultural and material infrastructures.”