Bill protecting Native American rights to wear tribal regalia advances in Kansas Senate committee

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Topeka — A invoice that may assure Native People in Kansas the fitting to put on their tribal regalia and different objects of cultural significance at authorities-sponsored public occasions is on its strategy to the complete Senate.

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday from a number of Native People, together with some from Lawrence, who stated they typically face resistance once they attempt to put on their native outfits at occasions reminiscent of graduations or other forms of public ceremonies.

Amongst these testifying was Georgia Blackwood, an eighth grade scholar at South Center Faculty in Lawrence and a member of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas.

Georgia Blackwood, an eighth grade scholar at South Center Faculty in Lawrence, testifies earlier than a Kansas Senate committee in help of a invoice that prohibit state businesses and native governments from barring Native People from sporting their tribal regalia and different objects of cultural significance at public occasions, together with graduations.

Blackwood stated she counted herself fortunate for having grown up in Lawrence, which has a big Native American inhabitants, the place it’s normal to put on tribal regalia at occasions comparable to graduations.

“Whereas I plan on graduating from Lawrence Excessive Faculty, I’m wondering if my youngsters can be allowed to put on a feather or regalia if I transfer away from Lawrence,” she advised the committee. “I should not have to fret about leaving Lawrence and marvel if the city I transfer to has insurance policies towards proscribing Native American cultural beliefs and practices.”

Home Invoice 2498 cleared the Home on Feb. 21 by a vote of 122-zero. It’s sponsored by Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, who’s a member of each the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona.

Wearing her personal regalia manufactured from deer pores and skin, and sporting an eagle feather in her hair, Victors stated Native People contemplate their conventional clothes as formal apparel in the identical means European-People view fits.

However she stated it’s common for Native People to be forbidden from sporting their conventional garments at ceremonial occasions. And she or he steered that sort of cultural bias contributes to a way of isolation amongst Native American youths, that suffer from excessive charges of suicide and substance abuse.

“I do not need to discourage our college students from making an attempt to be who they’re,” Victors stated. “Id is an enormous a part of that, so this invoice will assist them to be free to be pleased with who they’re as native individuals.”

A number of different Native People, lots of them sporting their very own regalia, testified in favor of the invoice. Amongst them was Liana Onnen, chairwoman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, headquartered in Mayetta, who stated the bans that some public businesses impose on the sporting of formal tribal garments is simply an extension of the “assimilation” insurance policies of the federal authorities which have wreaked havoc on native tradition.

“One of the devastating was the assimilation coverage that resulted in Native…

 

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