Native American grads earn eagle feathers in Detroit Lakes
Fifteen Detroit Lakes High School graduates received honorary eagle feathers May 19 from Dennis Rogers, (Navajo or Din'e) of Topeka, Kan. Dennis Rogers talks about the value and importance of the eagle and what the feather stands for. SUBMITTED P...
Fifteen Detroit Lakes High School graduates received honorary eagle feathers May 19 from Dennis Rogers, (Navajo or Din’e) of Topeka, Kan.
Dennis Rogers talks about the value and importance of the eagle and what the feather stands for. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Fifteen out of 30 Native American graduates and their families gathered at M State in Detroit Lakes for the celebration, with a total participation of about 75 people.
The evening began with a short social, followed by a chicken wild rice dinner and ice cream, catered by the college headed by Duane Dunrud.
After the meal, Rogers presented two retirees, Marcy Matson, the project director, and Laurelyn Ask, the middle school tutor, with eagle feathers for their services with the Native American programs.
Matson worked 11 years with the district and Ask started when the Native American Education Federal Program first started back in 1978. She put in 37 years with Detroit Lakes Schools. “Miigwetch for your services!”
Rogers then handed out a golden eagle plume feather to each graduate and smudged them with sage.
He talked about how the eagle is a very important part of all Native American cultures and that his first eagle feather has guided him through his cultural way of life.
“My first eagle feather brought me overseas to dance and speak, along with sharing my culture, throughout the United States. It’s been there for me in good times as well as in bad. Use your eagle feather to rejoice as well as seek strength and it will guide you in the right direction. Take good care of your eagle feather and it will take care of you.”
Following the short ceremony, a former DL student and recent graduate of University of Minnesota Morris, Lera Hephner, shared some fresh experiences with the graduates.
“There will be struggles, but remember your family and support group to reach out to when times get tough. Get involved with groups and gathering to meet new friends. Learn about other cultures as well as share your own. There will also be a lot of enjoyment and your interests will draw you to what it is you want to pursue … Have fun and be young,” she said.
The Johnson O’Malley and the DL Native American Education Programs presented awards and certificates to the graduates to conclude the evening.