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  • Writer's pictureArizona House Democrats

PRESS RELEASE: Rep. Tsosie reminds Arizona schools to respect Tribal regalia after viral incident in New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                 

May 21, 2024


PHOENIX – State Representative Myron Tsosie is using an unfortunate incident involving an Indigenous student at high school graduation in Farmington, New Mexico, to remind Arizona school officials to follow Arizona law and respect the wishes of students who wear tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies. Tsosie, who represents the Navajo Nation and several other Indigenous tribes, said he stands in support of Genesis White Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who was asked to remove her graduation cap decorated with culturally significant beads and a feather. A viral video of the incident has sparked rallies and support from around the country and from the Navajo Nation.

 

The Legislature passed House Bill 2705 in 2021 originally sponsored by Rep. Arlando Teller, to allow Arizona high school students to wear traditional tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance like eagle feathers and beaded caps, at their graduation ceremonies.

 

"In the Diné culture, and in many Native cultures, wearing our regalia indicates a rite of passage. We want our youth to celebrate and embrace their cultural heritage at the same time they are moving forward with their education and their futures. It was disappointing to watch Genesis White Bull being made to remove her cap on such an important day. Arizona law protects our students, but this incident was an important reminder for students, parents and school officials to know the law and know your rights."

 

 

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