13 year-old harassed for “Got land? Thank an Indian!” sweatshirt

I posted previously about the Saskatchewan girl who wore a sweatshirt to school with “Got land? Thank an Indian!” on it and found herself harassed by her teachers. Unlike previous, similar incidents, CBC news picked up the story, and it went national. Shortly after, word started to come down the pipe that the girl was being harassed on her Facebook page.

Well, it turned out that happened. And it was so bad, the RCMP got involved. They advised the girl to take down her Facebook page because of the abuse.

Now, we’re finding out who’s responsible.

The harasser in question is Michelle Tittler, who is apparently well-known among aboriginal activists. She co-founded the End Race-Based Law organization in response to the Idle No More movement. To put it mildly, she seems to have a chequered history of stalking and harassment with First Nations people – sometimes accusing others of harassing her, sometimes being accused of being the harasser herself. When crazy people are involved, it’s hard to separate fact from paranoid delusion, but it seems like she’s well known for using her 80 year-old father’s name to register domain names associated with Idle No More, and for calling First Nations people “products of incest”. You could, if you like, check out her YouTube videos to see her make her own case for herself. Normally I wouldn’t want to tell you my opinion because I wouldn’t want to poison the well… but in this case I really have to give you warning: she’s foul, and crazy.

Whatever her history, what isn’t in doubt now is that she posted things – numerous comments – on the Facebook page of a 13 year-old girl that were so vile and hateful, the page had to be shut down and the RCMP got involved. Her defence is – and I swear I’m not making this up: her comments were directed at adults and not Starr and she never meant to frighten the teen. Which makes perfect sense™; I mean, if you wanted to direct comments at adults, what better place to post them than on a 13 year-old’s page? Meanwhile, in the same interview: Tittler said she had written to the Balcarres school and also sent notes to Facebook, complaining about the content on Starr’s page. But yeah, she’s not harassing the kid.

It’s not fair that Miss Starr has to face this kind of hate and bullshit just for wearing a sweatshirt that is, ultimately, rather innocuous. I mean, really, how does “Got land? Thank an Indian!” insult, threaten, or hurt anyone? It’s hardly offensive – at most it’s a little cheeky. There may be a political statement under it (though you have to want to see it there), but even if there is I fail to see why it’s so offensive a political statement that it has to be forbidden from public consumption. And “racist”? Please. It’s like these people don’t even know the meaning of the word.

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13 year-old harassed for “Got land? Thank an Indian!” sweatshirt by Indi in the Wired is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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