ICT – Principal Tells Graduating Native: Hide Your Eagle Feather Under Your Gown

Here, from Indian Country Today.  An excerpt:

Native high school student Waverly Wilson, who will be graduating soon fromLakes High Schoolin Lakewood, Washington has been told by an advisor and principal Karen Mauer-Smith that she would not be allowed to wear a gifted eagle feather on her tassel. Mauer-Smith instructed Wilson she could only wear an eagle feather is if she hid it under her graduation gown when walking to receive her diploma.

Wilson says the school has made her feel like she has to hide that she is Native American. “They said I have to have it inside my gown, and I could only have it out afterwards. So I could not have it when I was going out on stage.”

After first purchasing her cap and gown, Wilson asked her counselor and graduation advisor if she could wear her feather. Her counselor said no, and sent her to the principal.


Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/13/principal-tells-graduating-native-hide-your-eagle-feather-under-your-gown-160348

Oversight Hearing on “Bureau of Indian Education: Examining Organizational Challenges in Transforming Educational Opportunities for Indian Children.”

You can watch the hearing here, at 2:15 EDT.


Panel 1

Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel
Director-Bureau of Indian Education, Washington, DC

Ms. Melissa Emrey-Arras
Director-Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues, U.S Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC

The Honorable Carri Jones
Chairwoman-Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, MN

Mr. Tommy Lewis
Superintendent of Schools-Department of Dine Education, Window Rock, AZ

Fight To Wear Eagle Feather Continues For Caney Valley Student

From Newson6, here. An excerpt:

RAMONA, Oklahoma –

With days left before graduation, the question of whether or not a Caney Valley High School student should be able to wear an eagle feather on her graduation cap is still up in the air.

We told you about Hayden Griffith’s wish to wear the feather while receiving her diploma on April, 28 – it’s a way, she said, to show pride in her Native culture.

Monday, in Ramona, the issue came up in front of the board of education.

At the end of April, District Superintendent, Rick Peter’s, said no to the request because it would violate policy.

Monday night, Hayden’s mom, Lisa Griffith, took the fight to the board of education, again asking for the policy to be loosened and explained, what she called, her “proud mama moment.”

It started with a Facebook post of Lisa’s her daughter Hayden with an eagle feather on her graduation cap, something the district said it will not allow at graduation.

“Don’t anticipate anything changing. This is for the good of the whole group, not just one, and that’s where we are,” Peters said.

But some call that decision discrimination.

Delaware Chief, Chet Brooks said, “To most Native Americans, an eagle feather is sacred.”

They continued the push Monday to get the district to change the policy.

“It’s 2015 and things can’t just stay stagnant. It needs to be a learning experience and teaching moment for everyone,” Lisa said.

Peters said they gave Hayden options of holding the feather or wearing it somewhere else, just not on the cap.

“This is not a tribal ceremony. We’ve given them options and it’s a slippery slope. Basically, we couldn’t deny other students from placing on their cap anything they would like on their cap,” he said.

Lisa said if the board doesn’t make a change before graduation, she said she’s reached out to groups like the ACLU and a civil lawsuit is an option.

“I don’t want to. This is the school I graduated from,” Lisa said. “This is where I grew up and it hurts that the people I grew up with don’t get it.”

She said there is a plan B but said she’s not ready to talk about it just yet.

Guest Post from Ansley Sherman: Colorado In-State Tuition Bill Dies

On Monday, May 4, 2015, the Colorado Senate Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs voted to postpone HB 15-1027 indefinitely, effectively killing the bill.  As we have previously mentioned, this bill would have required state-supported institutions of higher education to classify Native American students with historical ties to Colorado as in-state students for tuition purposes.

HB 15-1027 was introduced in the Colorado House on January 7 and assigned to the House Education Committee.  The bill was later referred to House Appropriations and passed with amendments on its second reading.

The bill’s first amendment outlines that students classified as in-state students are eligible for state-funded financial aid but ineligible for a college opportunity fund stipend.  Another amendment inserted a new section that adjusts anticipated funding received by the department of higher education from the students’ share of tuition.  The final amendment slightly changed the name of the bill so that it read “A Bill for an Act Concerning In-State Tuition for American Indians from Tribes with Historical Ties to Colorado, and, in Connection Therewith, Reducing an Appropriation.”

HB 15-1027 passed the Colorado House as amended, and was introduced in the Senate on April 27.  You can see TEDNA and NARF’s testimony on this bill here.

Ansley Sherman is a legal fellow at the Native American Rights Fund.  She assists staff attorney Matthew Campbell with education matters, including HB 15-1027.