To the Editor: In Don Keelans’ commentary ("Except for a few, we are all flatlanders," April 24), regarding the words “flatlander” and “native.” Apparently, he refuses to acknowledge the fact both terms are not only accurate but also necessary to identify specific characteristics. I’ll explain.
“Flatlander” was first used in the 1960s and ’70s. It’s pretty tame, unlike some class distinctions used by many politicians. It simply means someone from out-of-state, not born here, from far away. “Native,” according to Websters, means “belonging to a particular place by birth.” People of the Abenaki Nation are referred to as Native Americans. Folks born in this state are referred to as native Vermonters. Pretty basic.
If Keelan walked up to Remember Baker in 1770 and called him a flatlander Baker would not recognize that term. However, Baker would recognize Keelan as a “Yorker,” because of his attitude, and probably kick his ass all the way back to New York. The Green Mountain Boys did things like that during the 1770s to protect their investments.
Individualism is the principle of being independent and self-reliant, which stresses the moral worth of an individual/state. It’s part of Vermont culture that still exists today and is important to maintain. If not for the Green Mountain Boys, Vermont may not have become a state in 1791. Our motto of Freedom and Unity is no mistake.
I make no apology for the history of my native state. No need to. Folks who move here are welcomed but they need to understand the history of Vermont does not begin upon their arrival and is just as unique as the place they came from.