Chamberlain School Board denies Graduation Honor Song - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Chamberlain School Board denies Graduation Honor Song; Tribal Leaders plan protest, boycott

Posted: Updated:

Crow Creek Tribal leaders are calling for boycott of Chamberlain businesses this week. 

This comes after the School Board turned down a student petition asking that a Native American honor song be played at graduation. 

The School's Superintendent says the school board did not want to change the traditional format of their graduation ceremony. 

 Several school board members said they were also told that some students felt pressured to sign the petition in the first place, saying they feared they would be labeled prejudice if they did not sign the petition. 

What began as a student petition has escalated into a standoff between members of the Crow Creek Tribe and the Chamberlain community; protest and boycotts are planned for this weekend's graduation and many are saying things have simply gotten out of hand. 

"Initially it was kind of a jaw dropper for me, I think things have gotten a little out of hand," said Marcel Felicia, an incoming member of the Chamberlain School Board.

Felicia was at the Chamberlain School Board meeting Monday night for the vote on the honor song. 

"Some of the statements said were really kind of shocking to me…when you start saying they, them, we, I, don't want, those are very different words," said Felicia. 

While the controversy surrounding the honor song has caused tension in town, many students who are actually graduating this weekend say it's really more of a problem for their parents. 

"Nobody really sees it as too big of a deal anyway; the honor song is not just for native Americans anyway, it's for the whole graduating class," said Chamberlain graduating senior James Huntley. 

Wayne Two Hawk, an honor song performer, says the three-minute song applies to all students, encouraging them to go out in the community and become the next generation of leaders. 

"The students in the school are a lot smarter than the parents and a lot of these grown ups think...and they're moving forward in their lives and I like that, and it's something I hope continues," said Felicia. 

Those against having an honor song played want the school's graduation ceremony to remain traditional. 

"If you're going to do it for one group you might open the door for everybody," said Huntley. 

But community members who want the song say other area schools like Rapid City and Pierre have played honor songs at graduation for more than a decade. 

"If you talk to individuals in those schools and in the communities, they really like it and they enjoy it and there's no big to-do about it," said Felicia. 

The Chamberlain School District hosted its first Feather Ceremony Friday night at Saint Joe's School to honor its Native American graduates. 

Huntley says he's disappointed to hear plans of protesters at Sunday's graduation ceremony.  He says for him and his classmates, Sunday's ceremony will simply be about celebrating their achievements together. 

"They say every generation is smarter than their parents and I think it's showing true…as we mature as a class and as I've seen overall, its getting less and less segregated," said Huntley.

  • De Smet community raises $450,000 in less than 24 hours

    De Smet community raises $450,000 in less than 24 hours

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:07:12 GMT
    The community of De Smet has been raising funds for a new community wellness and events center for the past year. Last week, the town was till half a million dollars short and many people feared the projectMore >>
    People in De Smet came together to raise nearly half a million dollars to complete a new community center.
    More >>
  • National park visits will be more expensive this year

    National park visits will be more expensive this year

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:01 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:01:04 GMT
    CUSTER, S.D. (AP) - Visitors will have to pay more to tour the two National Park Service caves in the Black Hills starting April 30.    The service on Wednesday announced fee increases for tours at JewelMore >>
    Park Superintendent Vidal Davila says the fees fund facility upgrades. He says the increases were discussed at public meetings.More >>
  • Wastewater lagoons bring bad odor to Brandon this spring

    Wastewater lagoons bring bad odor to Brandon this spring

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:48:46 GMT
    For the past two weeks, many people in Brandon have noticed a not-so-pleasant odor. The bad odor is coming from the city's waste water lagoons. The smell has been around since the lagoons were built inMore >>
    The bad odor is coming from the city's waste water lagoons. The smell has been around since the lagoons were built in the 1980s, but the city's recent growth has made the odor much more noticeable.More >>
  • STD rates spike in Minnesota

    STD rates spike in Minnesota

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:16 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:16:54 GMT
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - State health officials are concerned that Minnesotans aren't getting the message about safe sex and about testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.    The MinnesotaMore >>
    Increases were much higher for some diseases, with syphilis up 64 percent and gonorrhea up 26 percent.More >>
  • Neighbors react to southwest Sioux Falls murder

    Neighbors react to southwest Sioux Falls murder

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:00:54 GMT
    Sioux falls has seen its second murder of 2014 and again, the victim is a woman in her 50's. It happened in a home on the 5600 block of Misty Glen Place  in southwest Sioux Falls. Neighbors were surprisedMore >>
    Sioux falls has seen its second murder of 2014 and again, the victim is a woman in her 50's.More >>
  • Keystone XL Pipeline remains a divisive issue

    Keystone XL Pipeline remains a divisive issue

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:53:07 GMT
    Former President Jimmy Carter joined a group of fellow Nobel Peace Laureates Wednesday in stating his opposition to TransCanda's Keystone XL Pipeline. If approved, it would carry oil from Canada, throughMore >>
    The potential environmental impact isn't the only issue pipeline opponents have raised. One widespread belief is it will have little to no domestic benefit. Howard says that is not true.More >>
  • New cane ball courts diversifying Huron

    New cane ball courts diversifying Huron

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:58 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:58:27 GMT
    Cane ball, a game similar to volleyball and soccer, is growing popular in the city of Huron, and a group of students are doing something about it. Middle schoolers, originally from Thailand and Burma,More >>
    Cane ball, a game similar to volleyball and soccer, is growing popular in the city of Huron, and a group of students are doing something about it. Middle schoolers, originally from Thailand and Burma, are so in love with the game, for their Destination Imagination (D.I.) project they petitioned to get some courts set up in town.More >>
  • Sioux Falls swimmers anticipate indoor aquatic center

    Sioux Falls swimmers anticipate indoor aquatic center

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:37:40 GMT
    Sioux Falls swimmers could see a new indoor pool open at Spellerberg park in the next two years.That's just east of the VA in central Sioux Falls.KSFY News spoke to people who love taking to the water.More >>
    Sioux Falls swimmers could see a new indoor pool open at Spellerberg park in the next two years.That's just east of the VA in central Sioux Falls.KSFY News spoke to people who love taking to the water.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KSFY. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service or our EEO Report.