Graduation from high school is a pivotal, once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Many Indigenous students cannot fully celebrate this achievement, from both a spiritual and cultural perspective, unless they are permitted to wear their ceremonial tribal regalia (for example, an eagle feather or beadwork on their graduation cap) during the event. Some schools have prohibited Indigenous students from wearing these items at graduation, claiming that it would violate the school’s dress code and speculating, without any basis, that it would disrupt the ceremony. However, there are various state and federal laws that protect public school students’ rights to wear tribal regalia during commencement.

A stylized graphic of a blue graduation cap against red tribal regalia. Students are fighting back against dress code restrictions placed on these adornments.

How can I share my story about my effort to wear tribal regalia at graduation?

To help advocate for Indigenous students’ rights to wear tribal regalia, we are gathering information about students’ experiences with this issue. Have you successfully persuaded your school to allow you to wear tribal regalia? Has your school continued to deny your requests to wear tribal regalia? Let us know here!