Oklahoma High School Tribal Member Cannot Wear Eagle Feather on Graduation Cap

Former Delaware Tribe Chief Pechonick (l) with Hayden Griffith (r), Delaware War Mothers Princess, at a tribal council meeting

Former Delaware Tribe Chief Pechonick (l) with Hayden Griffith (r), Delaware War Mothers Princess, at a tribal council meeting in 2013

Hayden Griffith is a former Delaware War Mothers Princess

RAMONA, OKLAHOMA— High school senior, Hayden Griffith, who is Delaware and Cherokee, had hoped to wear an eagle feather on her graduation cap as she walks down the aisle on May 21, 2015 to receive her high school diploma from Caney Valley High School in Ramona, Oklahoma.

Her hope and wish is being denied by the school system.

Hayden Griffith representing at powwow

Hayden Griffith representing at powwow

Working on her daughter’s behalf, her mother, Lisa Griffith, submitted a request for Hayden to wear an eagle feather on her cap to the Caney Valley Schools. She took the matter all the way to the superintendent of schools.

“During a meeting on Tuesday April 21 with Superintendent Rick Peters, I was told according to their attorney, the school does not have to allow her to wear her eagle feather,” stated Lisa Griffith in an email to Native News Online.

“He went on to state that if they allow her to wear her eagle feather, then anyone can decorate their cap. Mr. Peters stated he was sorry, but she would not be allowed to wear her eagle feather.”

Hayden is a previous Delaware War Mothers Princess, who has been active in American Indian culture since birth, according to her mother. As the princess of the Delaware War Mothers club during 2013 – 2014, she has participated in grand entries at powwows, NCAI in Tulsa, parades, veteran programs, and read to a first grade class in recognition of the Oklahoma birthday celebration dressed in her regalia.

Lisa Griffith wonders why members of the National Honor Society and other school clubs are allowed to wear different things on their graduation caps. She was told by school officials that the clubs are part of the school and are part of honors.

She maintains the eagle feather Hayden wants to adorn was given to her as an honor, and Hayden would not be wearing it as a decoration. Further, she wonders how the school system is willing to draw down federal funds from the Title VII program for each student who is American Indian, but are not willing to recognize them as such at graduation.

Lisa Griffith was told that is different.

Correction: An earlier version of this article inaccurately stated Hayden’s mother maintains Hayden would be wearing the feather as a decoration. The correct version reads: “Hayden would not be wearing it as a decoration.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
21 Comments
  1. Ben Marksfield 3 years ago
  2. Sasa Ageya 3 years ago
  3. Irena 3 years ago
  4. Sandi Billington 3 years ago
  5. Bill Brown 3 years ago
    • David Clubb 3 years ago
  6. sharon 3 years ago
  7. Diana 3 years ago
  8. Diana Schooling 3 years ago
  9. April Johnson 3 years ago
  10. jerry townsend 3 years ago
  11. jon bower 3 years ago
    • Sherry 3 years ago
    • Diana 3 years ago
  12. Karen Sherry Brackett 3 years ago
    • Diana 3 years ago
    • lori 3 years ago
  13. Ganagamoot Ikwe 3 years ago
  14. Bailey 3 years ago
    • Sherry 3 years ago
  15. sandra 3 years ago