No Eagle Feathers Allowed?

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown May 21st, 2014 Last Updated on: May 21st, 2014


File this one under ridiculous. Their mascot might be the Seminole Chieftains, but these Native American high school seniors cannot wear eagle feathers at their high school graduation. Native News Online took a closer look at the issue.

In Seminole county, Oklahoma, at Seminole High School, the student body is 49 percent Native American according to a Public School Review online record (http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/66602). And even though they Native students account for a large part of the student body, the Native seniors, were informed they were not allowed to put an eagle feather on their graduation caps.

Parent of Senior Sefuan White, Amari White (Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw) said his son, along with three other cousins, already had eagle feathers prepared and to find out they couldn’t wear it, he was surprised.

“Why would it bother someone, they worked so hard to graduate? I find it odd that it would be told to them that they can’t wear it. How do you tell the people who worked on that feather, that beaded it, that now they can’t wear it?”

When asked about how White felt knowing that his son’s high school’s mascot is the Chieftans, but now the school is not letting the Native families honor their own students, White stated, “it does confuse me, that you use the Chieftan mascot, but you can’t honor with a feather, when you have painted on the walls, it confuses me.”

Native News Online spoke with the principal, and to confuse the matter, there is no actual rule on the books against the feathers.

Seminole high school principal, Michael Crawford stated in a telephone interview “no one is allowed to put anything on their graduation caps, although there is no rule, that is our Seminole (high school) tradition, we don’t put anything on them.”

So what do you think? Since there is no rule should the students go ahead and wear them? Hopefully there are no repercussions if they do decide to wear. Maybe a new tradition can start.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » No Eagle Feathers Allowed?

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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Angie Valdez

I say WEAR it, and wear it PROUD!!! I know I would, and I would also go seek an attorney, because lets be clear about something. Every other race screams discrimination/racism, the minute they are told no on something, like the muslims, blacks, ect… And it becomes top news on every channel, but since this involves a rather quiet minority of people it does not make the news every where nor does it get the attention it deserves… The white people WILL walk all over you if you let them, DON’T them take this from you…

Myron paine

Search for and click on LENAPE LAND.

Clck on the heavy black text with an >, until you come to the pictographs with the three spikes on the head. They symbolise the “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” of Norse Catholics, who called themselves LENAPE. Most ancestors, who spoke Algonquin were Norse Catholics.

The feather tradition was probably a convenient way to wear a “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” sign.

This ridiculous prohibition is another bad action caused by the teaching of a English Protestant mythology about the origin of America.

The 17th Century Protestants, who controlled the two printing presses, suppressed the words “Norse,” “Catholic” and “LENAPE.”

Robert Redhawk (Leni Lenape)

The students have worked hard for their diplomas and denying them the right to wear an Eagle feather…the symbol of their heritage is ludicrous. Seeing the student body is 49% Native American, the school SHOULD have made allowances for this. But its the same old, sad story; once under white mans roof, you go by white mans rules. Break the code!!! Wear your feather and wear it proudly! You earned it! Ahoh!

Angela O'Doherty

I say wear them proud!


Being the schools mascot are the Cheiftans; the feather should be a given to honor their students for outstanding achievements in graduating. Wear the feather you’ve earned the right, and congratulations!

Michael Red Shirt

I went to University as a senior man. I had completed my ceremonies and carry certain cultural responsibilities. When I graduated for both my degrees, I wore one of my Eagle Feathers, beaded moccasins and beaded belt along with the regulation gown and cap. It was not questioned nor was it refuted in any way by one of the largest universities in the country. And if it had been, I would have worn them anyway. I was the first in my family to attain a tertiary education and graduated with a Masters in Educational Studies. This honors family, the people who supported you, your nation and your ancestors; not just the institution attended.

Anita Foster

He said it isn’t a rule, just a tradition. I say Break tradition and wear it anyway.

Deb Gruber

This is their special day I believe they should be allowed to wear them. They are proud they’re graduating and they’re proud of their heritage. Let them enjoy the day their way.

Tink Er Bell White

Seriously!! This is just plain CRAZY!! The Eagle Feather is an honor and should be proudly worn <3 CONGRATULATIONS to all the fine Native Americans Graduating!!!

Carmella Jacobs, Mohawk

I say if you bpay for your cap n gown do what you want!

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