'Thank an Indian' shirt creator says orders flooding in
Winnipegger Jeff Menard says he wants to give his people pride, not cash in
The Winnipeg man behind "Got land? Thank an Indian" shirts says his phone has been ringing off the hook since a Saskatchewan girl helped make the phrase famous.
"Orders are just coming here left, right and centre," Jeff Menard told CBC News. "I'm being flooded with calls."
Tenelle Starr, 13, recently ran into opposition wearing her pink "Got land?" sweatshirt to school in Balcarres, Sask., although people at the school eventually relented.
Since Tuesday, her story has been on headlines and broadcasts across Canada.
Menard, 37, a member of Manitoba's Pine Creek First Nation who's on disability from his regular job as a letter carrier, started selling shirts with the slogan in 2012 after spotting it in the U.S.
"The reason why I started this was to bring awareness to the Canadian natives and to unite our people and make them proud of who we are," he said. "I'm not in it for the money."
The message he wants to get across is that aboriginal people were in North America first, but they shared their land, signed treaties and want everyone to prosper, he said.
Although the term "Indian" is considered out-of-date by some people, Menard said he's fine with it.
"I love the word Indian. I love being called an Indian," he said.
He said about 1,000 t-shirts and hoodies have been sold so far, but with the recent publicity, orders are really starting to pick up.
"It's not bad for sales," he said.
Menard said he's been in contact with Starr's family and let them know he fully supports Tenelle in her effort to express her views.
"What I would say is, 'Stand up, be proud of who you are, keep wearing your t-shirt."
Menard said he is in the process of obtaining a trademark on "Got land? Thank an Indian".