Citing restrictive dress codes and uninformed administrators that routinely prevent Native American students from celebrating their heritage and achievements in a culturally appropriate way at graduation ceremonies, the American Indian College Fund (AICF) has partnered with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) to provide Native students with legal information and communications strategies prior to commencement to help them celebrate their graduations and cultures in a traditional way.
AICF has written and published a blog, “Graduation: Celebrating Your Achievements and Culture,” that includes downloadable brochures created by the NARF and links to laws that provide for Native students to have meaningful celebrations of their cultures.
The issue was discussed afternoon on Native America Calling’s radio live call-in program, where experts included Dr. Matthew Makomenaw of AICF and the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The recorded program can be heard on the Native America Calling website.
AICF, established in 1989 and based in Denver, is the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education. The fund provided 5,896 scholarships totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students last year and supports academic and other programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities.