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Oklahoma Senate advances bill allowing tribal regalia to be worn at graduation ceremonies

ACLU of Oklahoma

A bill that would require schools to allow Native students to wear tribal regalia during graduation ceremonies passed unanimously in the state Senate Wednesday.

Senate Bill 429, would prevent public and charter schools from banning students from wearing their tribal regalia during graduation or other school functions.

That includes things like eagle feathers in their caps, beadwork or moccasins.

Cindy Nguyen is the policy director at ACLU Oklahoma, one of the organizations advocating for this bill to be passed.

"We have heard school boards say that, well, if we do this for Indigenous students, we would have to do it for all students," Nguyen said. "And we say we don't see a problem with that."

Similar measures were introduced in 2021, but ultimately failed. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the bill. Now, the measure heads to the House.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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