Graduates celebrate Navajo heritage at graduation. Photo by Donovan Quintero, Navajo Times
Published May 2, 2019
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer are sending a strong message to school officials across the country to be respectful and acceptive of Native American students who wear cultural and traditional regalia, particularly during graduation ceremonies.
“At times, people need to be reminded who the first Americans are and whose land they inhabit. No student in any school should be prohibited from wearing regalia that signifies their religious and spiritual beliefs – instead they should be respected and honored,” said President Nez. “Our graduates and their families should celebrate their great accomplishments without any discrimination of their identity.”
During events such as graduations, many Native American students choose to wear regalia that identifies and pays tribute to their Native American beliefs and ancestry, however some school officials established and enforced dress codes that prohibited Native American students to do so.
“The Nez-Lizer Administration respects all faiths and religions and we expect the same of others. We are very proud of our students and they should be able to celebrate without any question or objection to what they choose to wear in terms of Native American regalia, which signifies harmony, balance, and strength,” added Vice President Lizer.
The Nez-Lizer Administration also continues to urge schools to incorporate Native American history into their curriculum to tell the true history of resilience of Native American people.
“A lot of the disrespect toward Native American students in prohibiting regalia is due to those people not knowing our true history and that needs to change by changing school curriculum,” President Nez said. “We are a strong and resilient people and we need to share that with our youth to empower them at a young age.”