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Aura Bogado at Colorlines reports:

5-year-old Malachi Wilson was all set to start kindergarten on Monday—but was sent home from Texas’s F.J. Young Elementary and told to cut his hair. His mother, April Wilson, contacted the Navajo Nation; the American Indian Movement also put pressure on the district to reverse its decision against the child. Only after she provided documentation of her son’s Native-ness through Malachi’s Certificate of Indian Blood did the Seminole Independent School District change its mind.

The district stands by its dress code decision. Its rather lengthy student dress code stipulates more than a dozen rules when it comes to hair. Among them, Mohawks are prohibited; Mohawks are called that for the way that some actual Mohawk people wear their hair. Dreadlocks are also prohibited. The handbook says exceptions are made on “certain recognized religious or spiritual beliefs,” but students “must receive prior approval by the campus administrator.” The district changed its mind about Wilson’s hair—but he nevertheless missed his first day of school.

The ludicrous logo of the Seminole (Texas) Independent School District.
The ludicrous logo of the Seminole
 (Texas) Independent School District.
The document in question that Malachi's parents had to show the district is actually a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, which can only be obtained from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For Indians who don't live on reservations and aren't tribally enrolled, this can be a complicated process.

Adding insult to injury, the Seminole Independent School District located in Seminole, Texas—where 1 percent of the 6,400 population have Indian blood—refers to its students as "Indians" and "Maidens" and uses a "Seminole" logo with caricatures of "Indians" dressed (sort of) like Plains Indians, instead of the way Seminoles traditionally did.

If I were Malachi's parents, I'd be prepared for making another visit to school administrators during the last week in November. Because he's likely to be asked by the mofos who run the place to "dress up like a R*dsk*n" for Thanksgiving. And between then and now, if he gets too rambunctious during recess, they can probably count on his teacher telling him to "stop running around like a wild Indian."

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 03:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Native American Netroots and Barriers and Bridges.

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