Wednesday, February 4, 2015

NARF secures North Dakota students’ right to wear eagle feathers at graduation ceremonies

Last month, NARF successfully advocated on behalf of graduating Native American students in Grand Forks, North Dakota, who wish to wear eagle feathers during their upcoming graduation ceremonies.  NARF was contacted by the school district’s Native American Parent Committee to offer a letter in support of the students, and NARF was one of many organizations to contribute letters.

Grand Forks Public Schools previously enforced a strict “no adornment” dress code policy at high school graduations.  In the past, this has meant denying Native American students’ requests to wear eagle feathers during the graduation ceremonies.  Eagle feathers symbolize honor and are gifted in times of great personal achievement.  Many graduates are given eagle feathers in recognition of their educational journey and the honor that the graduate brings to his or her community and tribe.

After being confronted with strong opposition from many organizations and individuals in the Native community, school district administrators unanimously decided to change the dress code policy to allow Native American students, who have earned the eagle feather honor, to wear their eagle feather during graduation.

Want to learn more on the issue?  You can read NARF’s letter sent on the students’ behalf as well as the school district’s policy change notification letter.  And, congratulations to all 2015 graduates – you make us proud!