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Native American tribes across the U.S. attend graduation feather ceremony in North Carolina

Cumberland County Schools celebrates Native American Senior Students during the Eagle Feather Ceremony at Grays Creek High School on May 4, 2023. Photo: Tony Wooten
Anthony Wooten | www.lrpmedia.com
Cumberland County Schools celebrates Native American Senior Students during the Eagle Feather Ceremony at Grays Creek High School on May 4, 2023. Photo: Tony Wooten

Nearly 20 Native American Tribes across the country came to Cumberland County to celebrate the fifth annual feather ceremony for graduating high school seniors on Thursday.

This year, students received a hawk’s feather to pin on their tassels that represents strength.

Native American High School seniors pose for a picture for their feather ceremony.
Cumberland County Public Schools
/
Submitted Image
Native American High School seniors pose for a picture for their feather ceremony.

“It's important because not just for cultural awareness for our community, but for an awareness within yourself,” said Candice Revels, the Coordinator for Cumberland County Schools Office of Indian Education.

Nineteen tribes attended the ceremony. Five out of the 19 were state-recognized tribes in North Carolina. Those include the Lumbee, Coharie and Occaneechi tribes.

“There's some tribes from Alaska Eyak Village, there is the Hopi, the Creek Nation, in Alabama Muscogee Creek,” Revels said.

Revels added that due to a new law, students in Cumberland County were also able to wear their feathers on their tassels at their regular graduation for the first time. State lawmakers passed the bill last year.

Thursday's feather ceremony event was held at Gray’s Creek High School, just off I-95 between Fayetteville and Lumberton.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.