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New law ensures Oregon students can wear tribal regalia at graduation

The National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository filled almost 4,000 eagle orders in 2014. Order requests come from Native Americans on a first come first serve basis. There is a five-year wait for some color-specific feather requests.
Kris Millgate, EarthFix
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The National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository filled almost 4,000 eagle orders in 2014. Order requests come from Native Americans on a first come first serve basis. There is a five-year wait for some color-specific feather requests.

In the past, Oregon’s indigenous students couldn’t wear eagle feathers on their graduation caps, mukluks on their feet, or traditional stoles over their graduation gowns without the fear that they would be stopped or have these items confiscated by school administrators. Now, a new law signed by Gov. Kate Brown ensures that Native American students in Oregon can wear culturally significant items at public school events, including graduation ceremonies.

We hear from Leya Descombes, a senior at NAYA Many Nations Academy and Leilani Sabzalian, assistant professor of Indigenous Studies in Education and co-director of the Sapsik’wałá Education Program at the University of Oregon. Both testified in favor of the bill.

If you’d like to comment on any of the topics in this show or suggest a topic of your own, please get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter, send an email to thinkoutloud@opb.org, or you can leave a voicemail for us at 503-293-1983. The call-in phone number during the noon hour is 888-665-5865.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Julie Sabatier