Sunday, April 20, 2014

About the Feather

I was inspired to launch The Warrior Trail campaign to connect my community with the world by the 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year, Monica Wilson Washington, who's doing the same for her school in her Orange All Over campaign.

However, my district's mascot situation is a little more complicated. We are the Arlee Warriors and Scarlets, and our "mascots" are representative of actual people. If you've ever investigated the controversies over Native American mascots, you may appreciate how appropriating a person's likeness, especially one in a warbonnet - considered traditional regalia - would be disrespectful. I had to find a way that would be respectful and positive.

I thought I might use a feather to represent my district. However, even a feather could be seen as traditional, and I need to be careful there as well. Thus I sought permission from the Indian Education Committee, a teacher, parent and community group that helps oversee activities in our district. They, along with community members, granted me permission to use a feather likeness for my campaign.

After that, I employed a student in her free time to design a feather for me. This is what she created, and I added color, ribbon, and beads. These are now being shared all over.

As a non-Indian person living and working in a tribal community, I am compelled to demonstrate respect to the people that I serve. I so appreciate their willingness to support me on this journey!  

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