The Case of the Holy Eagle Plume

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Growing the Voices of Our Future

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Layla Davidson

Submitted by Layla Davidson

A high school graduate from Oklahoma is suing the district where she previously attended school because she claims administrators there forbade her from wearing a holy eagle plume on her graduation hat. The case, which was filed last week in Tulsa County by attorneys for the student, Lena’ Black, against Broken Arrow Public Schools and two district workers, centers on an encounter that happened last year just before graduation. According to the lawsuit, she is an enrolled member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and is descended from the Osage people. Two school administrators approached Black as she was preparing to take her place for the commencement ceremony at Broken Arrow and instructed her to take off the “decoration” off her cap. They then made an attempt to remove the eagle plume. The graduate claims she was unaware of the request process and obtained permission from a teacher, despite the fact that the school system claims it has a widely-used procedure for students to ask permission to depart from customary graduation clothing. The lawsuit was filed at the same time that the Oklahoma legislature voted to override Governor Kevin Stitt’s veto of legislation allowing students to wear tribal regalia during high school and college commencements. The state legislature easily obtained the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn Gov. Stitt’s veto by voting 80 to 11 in favor. The override, according to Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, demonstrates respect for the Native American population.


About Carma Henry 22956 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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