Opinion: Racist policy against eagle feather during graduation

Ragina Johnson and Brian Ward discuss Chelsey Ramer, a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who was fined $1,000 and denied her diploma for wearing an eagle feather to graduation ceremonies:
In a celebration of her heritage, a Native American high school student wore an eagle feather in her graduation cap on May 23 during the ceremony in Atmore, Ala. The school administration responded by fining her and her family $1,000 for adding this "extraneous item" to the traditional cap and gown.

Chelsey Ramer is a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, which is the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama. The Poarch Creeks are one of the few tribes and nations east of the Mississippi River that did not face the brutal and deadly genocidal policy of "Indian Removal" from their lands. They have been living around the area now known as Atmore for almost 200 years.

Chelsey Ramer's act, although not analyzed as such in most news reports, ended up being a protest against a racist discriminatory policy and cultural bias by a private school administration. Unfortunately, it represents a broader epidemic of institutionalized discrimination against Native Americans across North America.

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Ragina Johnson and Brian Ward: Native pride is forbidden here (The Socialist Worker 6/18)

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Indian student in Alabama denied diploma over eagle feather (06/04)

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