Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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'Got Land? Thank an Indian' shirt partial profits to help homeless

By Jason Warick, The Starphoenix

The maker of the "Got Land? Thank an Indian" clothing line said he's impressed with the support he's received from Saskatoon, from both First Nations people and the general public.

"They've been really awesome in Saskatoon," Winnipeg designer Jeff Menard said. "The truth can hurt, but most people get it. They accept those five little words."

A Saskatoon bookstore has agreed to sell the shirts locally for Menard, and nearly 100 orders have already been placed, said Turning the Tide bookstore owner Peter Garden.

"It's cheeky, sure, but it resonates with anyone who understands colonialism and the history of our country," Garden said.

Demand for the shirts and hooded sweatshirts has skyrocketed since school officials in the southern Saskatchewan town of Balcarres told a 13-year-old First Nations student earlier this month she couldn't wear the shirt because it offended others.

The officials soon backed down, but the story has sparked a national debate.

Menard said he's had offers from more than half a dozen stores across the prairies to help him sell the shirts, but said Garden was the first to contact him and voice his support.

Menard is donating a portion of his sales to help the homeless in Winnipeg, while Garden said he'll donate 50 per cent of shirt sales to a Saskatoon group advocating for missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Menard also plans to distribute the hoodies to homeless people in Winnipeg and other cities.

"These are for everyone. I just want to do something good," Menard said. "I don't want to make a bunch of money. You can't take it with you - there's no U-Haul behind your hearse."

Menard is scheduled to meet the Balcarres student, Tenelle Starr, next weekend for the first time at an event in Brandon.

Garden said the shirts and hoodies will arrive in the coming days, but he's already accepting orders.

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