School Bans Headdress

September 7, 2017

At Linganore High School in Frederick, Md., a longtime tradition has been put to rest that was deemed offensive to Native Americans. According to FOX News, each year, Linganore students voted an incoming senior to be the “chief” of the student section and wear a traditional headdress for basketball and football games. The wearing of the headdress will no longer be allowed.

There have been petitions supporting and opposing the ban, each of which has over 1,500 signatures.

“I understand that some people find it offensive,” Jacob Garwood, a senior and the most recent chief, said. “We never meant to offend anyone, but we take a lot of pride in this tradition and it means a lot to us. I hope there is a way we can work something out so we can keep the tradition but allow everyone to feel welcome.”

Juan Boston, vice chairman of the Baltimore American Indian Center's board of directors, said that for Native Americans, feathers are “gifts from the Creator,” and should be treated with respect.

“I’m 58, and in my life, I have received one eagle feather,” Boston said. “When you see some people wearing one jumping around like a monkey, yelling like an idiot, it is disrespectful to our culture.”

Harry Rasmussen, a Linganore alumnus and the previous chief, said that while he was aware that people might find the feathers offensive, it was “the biggest tradition Linganore has.”

“It’s been passed down for more years than I know,” Rasmussen said. “It’s not meant to be demeaning or have bad intentions. It symbolizes the school as one. We are all one tribe at Linganore, and I think the headdress just sort of completes that."

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