Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 15, 2012

GAP halts Manifest Destiny t-shirt sales after Native Americans protest genocide campaign
Thanks to Last Real Indians for permission to
post this photo at Censored News!
GAP halts sales of Manifest Destiny t-shirts, Native Americans want apology for genocide campaign

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat

GAP halted sales of the Manifest Destiny t-shirt late Monday, after Native Americans protested the slogan as a symbol of genocide.
GAP responded to the protests on Facebook, "Thank you for your feedback regarding the 'Manifest Destiny' t-shirt. Based on customer feedback, we will no longer offer the t-shirt in our stores or online."
Removing the t-shirts, however, is not enough, says those responding to GAP on Monday.
Klee Benally, Navajo at Indigenous Action Media, in Flagstaff, Ariz., said, "'Manifest destiny' was the symbolic banner settler colonizers marched behind while waging genocidal wars against Indigenous Peoples. This shirt design is grossly offensive and should be immediately removed. I certainly don't think 'Arbeit macht frei' would have made it this far."
"Gap Inc, has been under serious scrutiny for exploitative labor practices within the past couple of decades, maybe they are just now making their intentions more clear?" Benally said.

Donna from Canada told GAP on Facebook, "I am not surprised that Gap would only remove such tasteless racist t-shirts on feedback only and not because their conscience gave them pause to think how unethical 'marketing' strategies would resound in backlash from Native Americans and people with conscience as well. Shame on Gap for using racist, colonialist acts to sell your ideology."
The online petition, from Corine Fairbanks of the American Indian Movement in Southern Calif., states, "This article of clothing promotes a belief that has resulted in the mass genocide of indigenous people, and it serves to normalize oppression. This shirt is marketed to teens and young adults, and it gives no context for the racism and inequality that persists in our society, to this day, as a result of this doctrine. We are asking that this shirt be discontinued, and that an apology be issued."
"The belief of 'manifest destiny' is a devastating one, and it has resulted in the genocide of millions. We are asking Gap to realize that by selling this shirt, it indicates that the company is either racist, and/or ignorant, and/or insensitive to the true meaning of the phrase. We are asking that this shirt be discontinued immediately, and that an apology be issued to the Native American and other indigenous people around the world who have been tragically affected by this doctrine."
Native American youths at Indigenous Action Media in Flagstaff, Arizona, provided this update from the designer of the t-shirt, who apparently apologized on Twitter.

mark mcnairy @mmcnairy
Also in the news today:
First Nation Terrance Nelson in Iran describes the human rights failures toward Indigenous Peoples and women by the US and Canadian governments. Press TV reports that the Canadian government is furious. Read Nelson's statements:
Fifty people blockaded TransCanada's Keystone XL tarsands pipeline construction in Winnsboro, Texas to protect the tree sitters. As the blockade enters its fourth week, two people locked down, with eight arrests today:
Sacred San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona: Sewage Snow could be poured in November on sacred Peaks where medicine men perform ceremonies and gather healing plants. French/English with photos of destruction of old growth forest, by Chris Prat of France.
Contact Brenda Norrell at

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