Osage Nation Recommends Senate Bill 429 Regarding Tribal Regalia
A STATEMENT BY CHIEF GEOFFREY STANDING BEAR ON SENATE BILL 429
The history of Oklahoma begins with tribal nations who relocated from ancestral territories as a result of the federal policy of Indian removal. Descendants of those nations reside here today. We face challenges created by our unique history and societal barriers.
Unfortunately, Governor Stitt did not recognize the history of Oklahoma or the rich heritage of the state’s Native American population when he vetoed Senate Bill (SB) 429 on May 1, 2023. This bill protects an Indigenous student’s right to wear tribal regalia during official graduation ceremonies.
Native American communities celebrate achievements, like other communities around the state. Unlike other populations, it is documented that Native students are less likely to graduate from high school or continue college. If they are allowed to wear their tribal regalia during graduation it would not only commemorate their achievement but also benefit the Native youth, at their school, who are looking for role models.
State leaders provide guidance for school administrators who may not know the significance of wearing tribal regalia for a special occasion, like graduation. It is important to encourage Native American graduates who rise above their challenges and complete school. Osage Nation agrees with the Oklahoma legislature for passing SB 429 and recommends they override the governor’s veto.