BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (AP) — A Native American scholar was pressured to take away an eagle feather previous to her highschool commencement ceremony in northeastern Oklahoma.

Damaged Arrow scholar Lena’ Black, who’s Otoe-Missouria and Osage, instructed the Tulsa World the feather was connected to her mortarboard and that she had been instructed beforehand that the feather could be allowed due to its cultural significance.

Black mentioned she handed a number of checkpoints earlier than being approached by a college counselor and a safety guard, who tried to forcibly take away the feather.

“I needed to take off my cap,” Black mentioned. “They saved attempting to take it off of me.”

Associated video: College students protest over CCSD’s commencement costume code

The district’s web site states that mortarboards are to be with out decorations and the confrontation was because of a miscommunication in regards to the required protocols for approval of including culturally important gadgets, in accordance with Faculty Indian Schooling Coordinator Wealthy Pawpa mentioned.

Different Indigenous college students wore regalia in the course of the ceremony, Pawpa mentioned.

Black’s mom, Marci Black, mentioned they weren’t instructed of any protocols and have acquired an apology from the district.

“I need this to by no means occur to a different Native scholar … they ruined one thing she has labored her complete life to realize,” Marci Black mentioned.

State faculties Superintendent Pleasure Hofmeister issued a letter in January to state faculties asking them to evaluation insurance policies on Indigenous college students carrying tribal regalia, feathers and different culturally important gadgets.

The letter included a 2019 letter from then-Lawyer Basic Mike Hunter that an Indigenous scholar’s proper to put on eagle feathers on their mortarboard is protected underneath the Oklahoma Spiritual Freedom Act.



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