IN A celebration of her heritage, a Native American high school student wore an eagle feather in her graduation cap on May 23 during the ceremony in Atmore, Ala. The school administration responded by fining her and her family $1,000 for adding this “extraneous item” to the traditional cap and gown.
Chelsey Ramer is a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, which is the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama. The Poarch Creeks are one of the few tribes and nations east of the Mississippi River that did not face the brutal and deadly genocidal policy of “Indian Removal” from their lands. They have been living around the area now known as Atmore for almost 200 years.
Chelsey Ramer’s act, although not analyzed as such in most news reports, ended up being a protest against a racist discriminatory policy and cultural bias by a private school administration. Unfortunately, it represents a broader epidemic of institutionalized discrimination against Native Americans across North America.
About two months ago, me and the other Indian seniors from the graduating class asked our headmaster if we could wear the feathers on our caps. She told us “no,” and that if we did, she would pull us off the field.
Ramer explained that soon after the meeting, the school tried to give students a contract to sign confirming that they would abide by school rules, and if they didn’t they would not be able to participate in graduation. She said, “I never signed that paper.”
On the day of graduation, she proudly wore the eagle feather as a symbol of honor for her achievement. Another Native American student wore a feather on their necklace but was not fined. Some of Ramer’s friends, who originally planned to wear the eagle feather, felt the school pressure and opted to not face the possibilities of being reprimanded.
Ramer’s former teacher, Alex Alvarez, who is also Native American and a family friend responded to the school:
I think this is ridiculous. If they took the time to understand and respect the differences in individuals, this would have never happened. We don’t have much left as Indian people, to give a child an eagle feather, as an achievement should be adhered to. The kicker is that this is a private school. Private institutions still have to follow federal guidelines, especially in regards to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
THE AMERICAN Indian Religious Freedom Act, passed in 1980, explicitly states:
That henceforth it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.
Glad this is still news! Spread it around.
Stop Stigma Sacramento
The Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think project was initiated by Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Behavioral Health Services to:
-Reduce stigma and discrimination
-Promote mental health and wellness
-Inspire hope for people and families living with mental illness
Stop Stigma Sacramento is one of the many projects here working to support those with mental illnesses. These are all over the county—on billboards, community boards, and gas pumps.
For mental health resources in the county, visit the NAMI Sacramento website
Some more actual social justice. This is fucking perfect. Can we get these on billboards out here on the East Coast?
I’m crying this is so thoughtful and meaningful
mental heath ads that actually include beautiful POC faces!!
THE most underrated scene in the entire movie. It was perfect. And do you know how often I see gif sets of it? This is the second one I’ve seen since the movie came out (It’s been over 5 months, now).
So let’s just pause for a moment from reblogging gifs of Tony’s sass, Loki’s sex appeal, or Bruce’s fluffiness and just appreciate this nameless, old, German guy and how, even though he knew he would probably die, he stood up to a tyrant to prove that the human race wouldn’t give up their freedom so easily.
Friendly reminder that it’s implied that he’s a Holocaust survivor.
Every once in a while — often when we least expect it — we encounter someone more courageous, someone who choose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel. We swoon. We gape. Often , we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky, when in fact, luck has nothing to do with it. It is really about the strength of their imagination; it is about how they constructed the possibilities for their Life. In short, unlike me, they didn’t determine what was impossible before it was even possible.
The United States’ attitude toward harassment, assault and rape in the armed forces is wishy washy at best. Not so in Australia. Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, shows how it’s done:
“On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future. If that does not suit you, then get out.
Alain Delon at Cannes, 1959.