Fight To Wear Eagle Feather Continues For Caney Valley Student


Monday, May 11th 2015, 11:12 pm
By: News On 6


With days left before graduation, the question of whether or not a Caney Valley High School student should be able to wear an eagle feather on her graduation cap is still up in the air.

We told you about Hayden Griffith's wish to wear the feather while receiving her diploma on April, 28 - it's a way, she said, to show pride in her Native culture.

4/28/2015 Related Story: Eagle Feather Creating Controversy For Graduating Oklahoma Senior

Monday, in Ramona, the issue came up in front of the board of education.

At the end of April, District Superintendent, Rick Peter's, said no to the request because it would violate policy.

Monday night, Hayden's mom, Lisa Griffith, took the fight to the board of education, again asking for the policy to be loosened and explained, what she called, her “proud mama moment.”

It started with a Facebook post of Lisa's her daughter Hayden with an eagle feather on her graduation cap, something the district said it will not allow at graduation.

"Don't anticipate anything changing. This is for the good of the whole group, not just one, and that's where we are," Peters said.

But some call that decision discrimination.

Delaware Chief, Chet Brooks said, "To most Native Americans, an eagle feather is sacred."

They continued the push Monday to get the district to change the policy.

"It's 2015 and things can't just stay stagnant. It needs to be a learning experience and teaching moment for everyone," Lisa said.

Peters said they gave Hayden options of holding the feather or wearing it somewhere else, just not on the cap.

"This is not a tribal ceremony. We've given them options and it's a slippery slope. Basically, we couldn't deny other students from placing on their cap anything they would like on their cap," he said.

Lisa said if the board doesn't make a change before graduation, she said she's reached out to groups like the ACLU and a civil lawsuit is an option.

"I don't want to. This is the school I graduated from," Lisa said. "This is where I grew up and it hurts that the people I grew up with don't get it."

She said there is a plan B but said she's not ready to talk about it just yet.