Brookings Student on School Board Agenda After Graduation Mishap

The family of Native American senior, Miles Livermont, looks to better educate district leaders after eagle feather was removed from cap
Miles Livermont is honored by relatives with a star quilt and eagle feather ahead of Brookings, SD graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 26, 2019.

BROOKINGS, S.D. – An apology from the Brookings School District was an important first step, but the family of a Native American teen, told this past weekend he couldn’t receive his diploma on Sunday unless he removed the eagle feather from his cap, is looking for more.

Miles Livermont and his mother met in a closed door session Wednesday with school officials. The two, among thousands of others who have signed onto a petition, are asking the district better educate staff on a relatively new state law that makes it illegal to ask any person to remove traditional tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance at a school honoring or graduation ceremony.

They would also like to see, among other things, two non-voting seats established on the school board – one reserved for a tribal student. The other would go to someone who can speak more broadly to diversity issues throughout the student population.

Livermont’s mother, Tasi Livermont Barondeau, says the family loves the Brookings School District. They just know working better together would help improve relations between those in the district who are tribal members, and the schools. And they are committed to making sure this never happens to another student or family. Barondeau says they have been told they will be on the agenda to speak at the next open school board meeting. Barondeau adds, speaking is great, but they’d like to see some action taken. More on the story in her own words, here.

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