Some questions for all the supporters.
This is a private Christian school, why is a teenager’s wishes being held higher than the rules that the school set forth?
Why did the feather have to be ON the cap, as that was what was actually opposed to?
Explain to me how a feather that was at one time only given to warriors and Chiefs has cultural relevance at the high school graduation of a teenage girl?
By the way, good luck as a member of the tribe couldn’t do it.
The truth is, and down vote me all you want, many tribes take their customs and histories from the writings of early white settlers. I’m not saying that it’s the fault of these people that their ancestors tried to reclaim a heritage that was forced away from them. But I am saying that it might be time to stop giving special treatment to anyone who yells “heritage” any time they’re told that they can’t do something. Because the truth of the matter is that there is no cultural reason for a teenager to have a bald eagle feather. And to all the people who say that the rituals and customs have been “adapted” to modern time, guess what? You can’t change a custom and then claim that you do it because it’s your culture. It’s just some shit that you made up and are asking everyone to accept.
Before you down vote me as I know you will, do me a favor. Actually answer those questions I asked.
Because Christianity has a long history of a combination of cultural appropriation, denigration and outright destruction of native american ways. That a symbol of native american solidarity no matter it’s source is still considered an act of understanding one’s identity, history and heritage. The History of Christianity outside of Europe is nothing but cultural vandalism. This takes place to this very day in places like India and Africa where many missionaries operate under the guise of charity with the sole purpose of inserting Jesus while denigrating the culture of others. For fuck’s sake man! Look at the front page of r/atheism! We got articles about how yoga is fucking satanic! How do you think Hindus feel to have one of the things they are most proud of… their cultural icon… one of the two things Hindus are taught as their achievements that the world now follows (decimalised mathematics being the other one since Hindus had a modern number system rather than a roman style one).
To deny this girl that simple basic right is an act of imperialism. When the Australians abducted aboriginal children to “civilise” they tried preventing them from indulging in their own culture. When the British took Indians from India to work in other parts of the world they denigrated and prevented these people from showing off their culture. Yes you may say that she went to a private school so should follow all their rules but the fact is that traditionally native american kids have used a feather in that very school.
It doesn’t matter if the “Feather” is a made up ritual or not. I mean all rituals are “Made Up”, but they have meaning. Whether it’s the native american’s feathers of my culture’s usage of iron jewellery… It’s just that thousands if not millions of people believe it has a symbolic meaning. Of achievement. It’s a mark of pride in a culture that isn’t white and mainstream. It doesn’t harm anyone else. If I remember correctly a feather is a mark of achievement in Native American society.
Cultures change over time. At one point “Defeating Your Enemies” was important. Today the future of Native Americans is not in warfare but in the achievements of it’s individuals in society and that means getting educated and getting a job and other things that have become more important than your ability to fight. And I believe the feather was for courage rather than defeating enemies. I am not sure…
And that’s the thing. I am not sure what it means. Because it’s not my culture. But it is hers. And that meant something to her. It meant something to a group of people who in American history had it “fucking rough”. Of people who were treated as savages and who were tormented and massacred. Who’s very culture was stolen and made into fashion items. The feather meant something to her. It’s just a feather to you. The Medal of Honor or the Victoria Cross are “Just Metal Badges” but to our cultures they mean something.
So the old rewards have a new audience and a new way of earning them. Big Whoop.
Yes. You can change a custom. Who says you cannot? I mean come on… we are atheists. We KNOW of customs changed in religions over time. Slavery? Human Sacrifice? Ritual Cannibalism? Customs change all the time and become new ones.
Traditions change ALL the time.
Why should we as minorities dance to the tune of “the norm”. Why should we kowtow to your culture and adopt it? Why should we trade in what we are for what you are? Your culture is no superior to mine. Why should you be allowed to indulge in your heritage in a public way while I am not allowed to indulge in mine? I am just as westernised as you are and my ways do not harm anyone to dress like my ancestors and do the things that they do. For the majority of our time as a minority we have to behave like the cultural majority so what’s wrong in showing off your own heritage in some little way.
It’s a literal feather in a literal cap. Who does it hurt? The school? How? The white people? She has to dress like them 24/7. She cannot wear the clothes of her culture or speak the language of her culture. A feather in the graduation cap is somehow going to tarnish the whole affair? Really? Why should she wear a mortarboard?
At this point and time more white people wear feathers in their hair as fashion items than native americans wear one out of accomplishment. For one to be told NOT to wear one and indeed be punished is unacceptable in this day and age and of all nations in the USA.
And I know the Cree aren’t “really” the same Cree that used to live there and that practically anyone with ancestory can lay claim to the tribe. But here is the thing. Native American culture is dying out. It’s being slowly strangled and a big part of that was Christianity and society denigrating anything “Native” as “savage”. To survive they let “anyone” be part of the tribe. They want their ways to survive.