Eagle Feathers and Graduation Day – School Says No!

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown May 21st, 2015 Last Updated on: May 21st, 2015


We applaud all the Native American students who will soon be walking proudly across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. However, this joyous occasion usually turns sour when the students cannot honor their heritage by wearing an eagle feather with their cap and gown. Year after year students and their families ask, will the administration allow me to wear an eagle feather in my cap?


King 5 News recently reported about a Lakes High School senior named Waverly Wilson who requested to wear an eagle feather but was denied.

I think the thing that puzzles me the most is that the eagle is represented all throughout the United States on official government seals, money and other trinkets of national pride, yet students can't wear an eagle feather on graduation day? Give me a break!

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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OK, someone please tell me what this person has done to merit the High Honor of wearing an Eagle feather? Has she killed the enemy defending her Family and People? Has she Counted Coup in battle? Has she carried a fallen commarade from the battle field under heavy fire from the enemy? What has she done to merit the highest WARRIORS honor. I hate when “half-breess” (yes I will call you “half-breeds” cause no wolakota would demean the honor of receiving an eagle feather in thia annee) do this crap. Talk about miss-appropriarion of culture.

Angie Valdez

OK, Ms.Politically correct Tasunkalnyan lady, so what if she is only “Half”, if she proud why the hell do you want to take that away from her? You are just down right RUDE and HATEFUL! Just because she’s only half doesn’t give you the right to stomp all over her like she’s crap, or like you are the head chief to call all the shots on what is a personal proud day for someone graduating. She’s a young girl, a lot of young girls don’t take or have pride in who they are these days so who do you think you are saying what is appropriate for her culture. Never seen someone be so mean & hateful, calling a person “Half-breed” is VERY offensive. You better think about that…

Heather Harper

This story was written a few months back. This young gal has since graduated and she wore her eagle feather. At graduation, her family bought the press tickets and the grand standing continued. What she did, did not change policy or help future students.
I would also like to point out in this story, she is adopted indian but not a enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Legally, she cannot own or have in possession a eagle feather.


I am a Traditional Native American. I try my best to walk in both worlds.The Eagle Feathers worn at graduation should be honored and acknowledged.When I graduated from college I was told I could wear it in my hair but not on my cap. So I made a braid on the back of my head and wore my feather. There is supposed to be religious freedom in this country and freedom to practice your culture and heritage. We need to write and call representatives and demand our rights to practice our heritage without resistance. We will be idle no more. WaDo

Angie Valdez

Just received an email regarding the issue with the “Feather” at graduation, and that they were going to sue. I just needed to say, “Right-On”! I am so glad to hear that as I said, I certainly would also if it was one of my kids it happen to… I hope & wish All the best for a good strong outcome of this “Discrimination” of Native American Peoples. I’m sick & tired of our peoples being walked/stepped on for many years now…

“A people without a history is like the wind over buffalo grass”. (Sioux)


You know what?? I would wear my feathers… I would march right out there and thumb my nose at them! Never give in no matter how they try to break you!!! NEVER! Its her honor and right … even if they refuse the diploma… DO IT ANYWAY… then go and take the test for a GED! who cares??? the highschool diploma means nothing anymore anyway… a college degree means NOTHING anyway. HOWEVER… your HONOR your RELIGION.. YOUR RIGHT and YOUR SPIRIT means EVERYTHING!!! Never give in and never be deceived!


Why doesn’t she just braid it in her hair with a leather piece. I’m part choctaw and also had issues with dress code and native dress in my High school, gosh it was such an issue when I wore moccasins to school one day and it was “against school dress code” there are creative ways of getting around silly dress code rules. Kudo to the mother for standing up…but let the girl graduate and then proudly put the feather in her hair…but the school should think of adjusting their rules..4pages of rules is too long for any formal school ceremony


If the “Wasichu” could really understand what the Eagle feather means to the Native American, they would be willing to allow it. There needs to be more religious and cultural tolerance for everyone, including for the ones whose land was stolen to originally found this great country of “tolerance.”

Angie Valdez

This is an OUTRAGE!!! Every other religion, race, group can & is always allowed to honor or celebrate their beliefs.. Just look at all the muslims imposing all their beliefs, ect. on this country America… I can’t believe what I read about this not being allowed to wear your heritage, at my son & daughter’s grad there were a lot of people wearing the Hawaiian Lei’s, what’s up with that???
Seriously, this is wrong & if you can take it to court, get a good lawyer, these days people are suing for everything..
Look at the gay’s fighting & winning for things that were unheard of before. Why because they fight it hard… I’m so mad for you believe me, if it were me I would FIGHT IT!!!

Frannni B Small

our people do not give up and we have every right to carry on our traditions just as the white man and the illegals. we were first and we will win.

Emily Brothers

More of the attitude ” The only good Indian is a Dead Indian”. From the FR and NDN War natives have rescuing this country in war after war. All should support NDN wearing of Eagle Feathers. There is so much ignorance.

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