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Eagle Feathers First Banned, Then Allowed at California Graduation

Lenmoore High School in California at first banned its Native American graduates from wearing eagle feathers in their caps, then allowed it.
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In the days leading up to the June 5 graduation ceremony at Lenmoore High School in Lenmoore, California, administrators had banned the eight graduating Native American seniors from wearing eagle feathers in their graduation caps, but hours before the ceremony, they allowed the feathers, reported The Fresno Bee.

Principal Rodney Brumit had told students he would be enforcing the “no adornment” policy for the graduation ceremony, but a lawyer from California Indian Legal Services contacted the district explaining that the eagle feather is a high honor of personal achievement for the Native students.

According to The Fresno Bee, school board president Kathy Neves advised Superintendent Debbie Muro to allow the eagle feathers.

“I think we could make an exception,” Neves said. “I don't think it's a big deal. It’ll just look like a tassel is hanging down.”

Anita Baga, a member of the Tachi Tribe, received a call from Brumit the day of the graduation letting her know her nephew, Bryce Baga would be able to wear his eagle feather that day.

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“We’re so excited about this,” she told The Fresno Bee. “This is not a Tachi Yokut thing; it’s for all our kids.”

The eight Native graduates—seven of whom are members of the Tachi Tribe—is a record number of Native graduates for Lenmoore High School.

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Mark Crosse/The Fresno Bee

Alyssa Ortega, 17, wears an eagle feather during the commencement ceremonies at Lemoore High on June 5, 2014.