News & Features

Governor Signs Native Regalia Bill

Bill allows Native American students to wear traditional regalia while marching to get their high school diplomas

HELENA — As high schools prepare for graduation ceremonies across Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock has signed a bill allowing Native American students to wear traditional regalia while marching to get their diplomas.

The bill signed Friday prohibits schools and government agencies from interfering with students who wish to wear eagle feathers, beads and other items of cultural significance.

In the past, some Native American students expressed disappointment and outrage after being told they couldn’t wear beaded mortar boards at graduation.

Not all Montana schools banned the practice but it was left to school boards and campus officials to decide whether to allow Native American regalia.

The bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jen Gross of Billings and supported by the Legislature’s Native American caucus sought to bring uniformity to the rules.

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