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North Dakota Natives Fight for Right to Wear Eagle Feathers at Graduation

A Native group is trying to change policy at Grand Forks Public Schools that students are not allowed to include "personal additions" at graduation.
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For more than 20 years the three high schools within Grand Forks Public Schools have had a policy which says students are not allowed to include “personal additions” to their graduation attire, a Native American group is trying to change that.

To that end, a petition on Change.org has been started. As of January 23, the petition has 451 signatures—only 49 more needed. And the group has a chance of getting the change.

A meeting was held January 14 between the Native American Parent Committee and school administrators. According to Grand Forks Public Schools Communications Coordinator Tracy Jentz, the “administration has a greater understanding of the eagle feather” after that meeting. She said the meeting was “very informative” and that the parent committee provided information “about the significance and history of the eagle feather” that administrators were previously unaware of.

Jentz said now the administrators will discuss the situation and have a decision by mid-February, if not sooner.

But that’s not all. A movement has started in the social media world as well—search #LetTheFeathersFly and see the support for allowing Native students to wear an eagle feather on graduation day.

Twitter user @_cBlazee says, “There should be no restriction to expressing one’s culture. #LetTheFeathersFly”

There are even posters being made and hung around Grand Forks to support the students. The poster below was posted by Twitter user @LetTheFeathers.

Math in a Cultural Context, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Students work together to manipulate geometrical forms, among other activities, during Math in a Cultural Context lessons.

Petition signers feel any form of religion should be able to be represented. “I believe graduates should be able to wear a religious symbol whether it be a cross or an eagle feather, or something else,” wrote Jena Pierce, of Grand Forks.

Sign the petition here.