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Bill protecting the right of Native American students to wear traditional regalia at graduation moving through Utah legislature

Jan 25, 2022, 8:24 AM

Native American regalia...

Artwork of the flag of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Photo: Xasartha / Wikipedia Commons

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would protect the right of Native American students to wear beads, feathers and other traditional tribal regalia at high school graduation ceremonies easily passed a committee vote in the Utah State Senate yesterday.  

Corrina Bow, chair of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, urged senators to pass the bill.

“The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah supports the efforts of all Native Americans to honor their culture, religion and heritage, particularly during graduation and other celebratory ceremonies,” Bow told the committee.

Bow pointed out that Native American and Alaska Native students have a graduation rate nationwide of just 74%, the lowest of all demographic groups. She said the same is true in Utah.

Senator Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) said seeing Native American students graduate from high school would also encourage younger students.

“Many of our schools bring the school graduation class in, and they walk through the hallways. And students get to see people just like them who have just graduated.”

The committee vote was 6-0 in favor of the bill. HB 30 now goes to the Senate floor. It’s already passed the House on a unanimous vote.

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Bill protecting the right of Native American students to wear traditional regalia at graduation moving through Utah legislature