September 1, 2014
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A Saskatchewan student says her school asked her to remove a sweatshirt bearing the words "Got land? Thank an Indian,'' after it sparked complaints.
Tenelle Starr, 13, said that the sweatshirt speaks about First Nations treaties and land rights.
But not everyone at the school in Balcarres, Sask., approved of the slogan and initially school officials told her to take the sweatshirt off.
The school later said she could wear it, but only after meeting with her family and community members.
The designer of the sweatshirt, Jeff Menard of Winnipeg, said he feels bad that Tenelle was criticized for wearing his design, but he doesn't shy away from the message it sends.
He said Canada's history is undeniable; native people were here first.
Menard said that when he wears his sweatshirt he mostly gets compliments. However, there was an incident last week, where a stranger confronted him over it.
"This guy comes up to me and says, 'We pay for you, you guys get everything for freea we pay our taxes,''' Menard said, adding that he told the stranger that he works for Canada Post and pays taxes as well.
"He was willing to fight me over my hoodie.''
Menard said he's sold thousands of sweatshirts bearing the slogan, and he's hoping to give one to Neil Young on Thursday at the singer's "Honour the Treaties'' concert.
Tenelle also refused to back down from her support of the slogan.
"I like the meaning and it's a true statement,'' she said.