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Native American Student Denied Diploma, Fined $1,000 For Wearing Eagle Feather

Native American Student Denied Diploma, Fined $1,000 For Wearing Eagle Feather

A Native American student was denied her diploma and fined $1,000 for wearing an eagle feather in her graduation cap.

The Native American student is named Chelsey Ramer, a senior at the Escambia Academy High School.

Ramer is a member of the Poarch Creek Native American tribe in Alabama. She’s one of the descendants of the original Creek Nation.

Ramer wore the eagle feather in her graduation at a May 23rd commencement ceremony as a symbol of her Native American heritage, but school policy forbids “extraneous items” from being worn without permission. The Native American student refused to a sign a graduation contract and was denied permission ahead of time by the headmaster to wear the eagle feather:

“About two months ago, me and the other Indian seniors from the graduating class asked our headmaster if we could wear the feathers on our caps. She told us ‘no’ and that if we did, she would pull us off the field.”

But Ramer went ahead with her plans, anyway. Now she’s facing a $1,000 fine in order to receive her high school diploma.

The Native American student claims the school is discriminating against her due to her heritage:

“I feel like this wasn’t fair. It really did hurt my feelings. I have watched others wear it and I looked forward to it my whole four years there. Now when it was my turn, [they said] I couldn’t. I feel like it’s discrimination.”

Do you think the Native American student is being discriminated against, or was Ramer demanding special rights against the school’s graduation rules?

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7 Responses to “Native American Student Denied Diploma, Fined $1,000 For Wearing Eagle Feather”

  1. Anonymous

    if others have worn it in the past…..why can't this class? My first thought was that she could have worn it in her hair…. but then I read that others HAD worn it in the cap itself, so I think she's right in what she did. I think it's a shame and pathetic of the school, that this one thing, so important to them, it's non damaging, and non violent, not vulgar or rude in any way, was not allowed. The schools are getting worse, not better. When are we going to start standing up to these idiotic and petty school rules?

  2. ZuZu Petals

    it is illegal to even have an Eagle feather. Even Native Americans….. As a result of years of habitat loss from urbanization, exposure to chemicals used in agriculture and animal husbandry, and poaching, populations of bald eagles, the national symbol, and golden eagles have been reduced in numbers. In an effort to protect these birds, the United States Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act in 1940, and later amended the Act in 1962 to include protection for golden eagles. This Act prohibits take, transport, sale, barter, trade, import and export, and possession of eagles, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles and eagle parts without a permit. Only enrolled members of a Federally recognized tribe can obtain a permit from the FWS, authorizing them to receive and possess eagle feathers from the Repository for religious purposes.

    She may of had a permit. But it could have been an issue school was concerned with.

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