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Eagle feather ceremony marks graduation milestone

UP eagle feather ceremony
Posted at 7:09 PM, Apr 26, 2024

In a heartfelt celebration merging tradition with academic triumph, college graduates were honored in a unique ceremony that honored their academic accomplishments while paying homage to Native American Culture.

Held at the University of Providence, eagle feathers are given in times of great honor. Many tribes present their people with eagle feathers upon graduation to signify the achievement of this important educational journey and the honor the graduate brings to his or her family, community, and tribal nation.

Not only did students receive eagle feathers, but several received Native American names that reflect their journey and embraces a rich cultural tradition.

Larry Ground, a member of the Blackfeet tribe and leader of the Crazy Dogs Society, has rights to present names to Indigenous people and has given many names within the Great Falls community and school system.

Ground explained, “These students have made an achievement and have gone to battle. Nowadays, our battles are social. Fighting sickness, poverty, and even fighting to honor their hopes and dreams. These students should be proud of what they accomplished.”

For upcoming Masters graduate Devin Disalvo, receiving her feather and her new name, Hummingbird, was very moving.

She said, “It really hit me about everything that I had gone through. And to finally be here makes me so happy and emotional and moved.”

Eagle Feather Ceremony

Each graduate walked away with a new identity rooted in heritage and pride. The ceremony, attended by faculty, family, and students served as a reminder of the diverse landscape campus’s have, and the importance of honoring indigenous traditions in today’s society.

Disalvo added, “I’m so happy that the college was able to make this happen and take this first step towards being more culturally expressive because, I feel like opportunities like this are what bring people together and give students the opportunity to really express themselves and show everyone their culture and their heritage.”