Winnipeg student says she was kicked off bus over sweatshirt saying: Got Land? Thank an Indian

The day after the city of Winnipeg launched their new aboriginal relations division to help build relationships and give opportunities to aboriginal youth in the city, a complaint has arisen.

APTN National News
The day after the city of Winnipeg launched their new aboriginal relations division to help build relationships and give opportunities to aboriginal youth in the city, a complaint has arisen.

A local high school student says she was unfairly kicked off a Winnipeg transit bus.
And the girl and her brother say the city of Winnipeg isn’t taking their complaint seriously.

APTN’s Ntwanis Piapot has the story.

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24 thoughts on “Winnipeg student says she was kicked off bus over sweatshirt saying: Got Land? Thank an Indian

  1. So sad. She should have an organization sue based on freedom of speech. Lawyers typically wont take cases based on principle, rather than money; but organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have taken on cases regarding things on T-shirts being ‘freedom of speech’, and at least forced others to allow such.

  2. As a white male living on Indigenous land I have to say that I am disgusted by the actions of this bus driver, the city of winnipeg and by the larger population in general. This is racism, pure and simple, coming from a privileged white male who for some reason feels threatened by a young woman wearing a shirt that – if one has two brain cells to rub together – must make us think about how we got where we are today, and who had to suffer and is still suffering for it. To me this sounds like he decided that if her shirt makes him feel uncomfortable in his skin, she should be punished for it.

    If someone feels uncomfortable with the manner of dress or the images or messages on another’s clothing, they have the right to not look at it, to walk away, to ignore it. As a public employee he has the right to do his bloody job, not to police someone else’s choice of sweater. If she had been verbally or physically threatening towards himself or passengers he would have had the right to refuse service. But she wasn’t. For the city to be ignoring or brushing this incident aside is for them to be complicit in perpetuating a racist paradigm that has been entrenched in our society for centuries. It needs to stop.

    The population in general is guilty of the same thing. Whether it be by directly being racist – even (or especially) when they seem to think they aren’t, which I encounter so frequently it makes me want to be sick – or by turning a blind eye to the struggles of Indigenous peoples in a society that is directly and almost wholly hostile to them.

    As a white male living on Indigenous land in this society I feel an obligation to speak up and to challenge others in my position when I see things like this happen. I feel also that to do anything more without being asked I would be crossing a line into the realm of disempowering Indigenous people and being the typical white male. I don’t always know where that line is drawn, but I feel compelled to do what I can, so I must ask: How can I help?

  3. Got Land? Thank an Indian? lol the sweater is a direct hit at white people! secondly, if those white people didn’t come over we’d be the ones in the infomercials asking for money and not the Africans lol

  4. I wore the same sweater at a Tim Horton’s in Dauphin this past summer, and did I ever get a lot of nasty looks from the farmers from there lol especially women of the white folks. But I smiled and waved!

  5. Sounds like this piece can’t decide whether the story here is about being kicked off the bus or “native girl lives in shit neighbourhood.” How do we know that the driver wasn’t just curious about the shirt before letting her know that there was no more room on the bus to safely add her? Did the driver specify that it was because of the shirt? Or did the girl simply ASSUME that it was and decide to make a stink over it?

  6. Good thing that other woman proved her point by refusing to get on a bus that was full.

    Even though it’s a rough area, I don’t think this girl needs to worry about her safety. It’s not like she’s walking around wearing a slogan that would cause anyone to have animosity towards her.

  7. As a daily user of Winnipeg public transit, I wish I encountered more clever shirts like the “Got land? Thank an Indian.” Thanks for speaking up and talking back… and thanks for wearing that shirt.

  8. It’s absolutely disgusting to here any young woman be put out like that especially in a city where young girls go missing far too regularly. Do I feel it was a racial issue? ABSOLUTELY! If it was a white kid it would be a different story. I comment the brother for standing up and demanding answers. I had to do the same for my daughters so i understand the anger associated with the discrimination of a loved one. Someone had better have an answer and an appology for this young girl and her family.


  10. If a situation like this ever happens again, the bus driver’s name and operator number should be inquired and written down to report them. They don’t have the right to refuse service if the passenger is not posing a threat. In this case, this student should have done something that would make the investigation more easier to track instead of storming out of the bus. Hopefully that bus driver is penalized for his offensive language.

  11. Rude! I, too have had issues with Winnipeg transit and rude drivers. It’s unacceptable and more should be done. Why would we want people like that treating the people of Winnipeg like they’re trash? Girls all over the city, not just the north end have to worry about predators, and to be kicked off because of a sweat shirt? Not acceptable. This is the 2010’s and no one should have to worry about racism in this day and age. Sad, it really is.

  12. Shouldn’t do it if you don’t want racism….your promoting more hate against one race..”natives”…what did she expect!!!! Parents should know better…teach the kids more desicpline nd knowledge …

  13. my family is aboriginal and isn’t that shirt being racist against white people for one and we don’t say Indian for another….its been all over the news not to use that word…….everybody has worked the land to make it what it is today for everyone to enjoy and prosper……looks like there is still a lot of prejudice people out there on both sides of the fence and I for one am very disappointed by this…. from the bus driver to the saying on the shirt and the girl wearing the shirt, this just opens doors to white people wearing disturbing shirts as well…such as got milk thank the white people…..this is going to lead no where good and that shirt should be destroyed and the bus driver should be disapplined as well

  14. i used to live in the west for over 11 years and know first hand the racial profiling that occurs not only from city employees but the rcmp themselves the worst of the bunch in any case like this a legal suit should be filed against the drive the transit commission and city hall its high time it all stops how you are ever going to get it out of the rcmp the creator only knows as they answer to no one

  15. The bus driver has no right picking and choosing his passengers based on what they wear, not like she’s wearing a swastika. Our young sisters, should be treated just as well as any other human being. If it were a caucasian young woman, I’m sure there’d be an outrage.

  16. that’s discrimination sue the transit company and city, one or the other should put out an apology or something. Sue them, maybe they will listen.

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