Education | Opinion

Editorial: Rejection of honor song stirred up racial tensions

Newspaper wonders why school board in South Dakota refused to allow an honor song at the high school graduation ceremony:
What would it have hurt?

If the Chamberlain School District would have allowed a Native American honor song to be sung at the local graduation, much of the anger and controversy would not have bubbled to any surface. Those in attendance would have listened to a song meant to honor all of the graduates, diplomas would have been handed out and folks would have departed to their various graduation receptions.

But when a petition was presented this spring to the Chamberlain School Board, requesting the honor song be allowed at the ceremony, the board voted no. That denial stirred up racial tensions in a community that is no stranger to those controversies.

But really, the lesson learned from the Chamberlain example is not about that school’s choice of how it handled an issue that became divisive. It was set in Chamberlain, but it really is about all of us here in South Dakota. It’s a window into our state’s soul and an opportunity to ask ourselves, “What would it hurt?”

Get the Story:
Editorial: State must address racial issues (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/23)

Related Stories:
Column: Honor song debate shines light on race relations (5/22)
Drum group performs honor song after graduation ceremony (5/20)
Column: Denial of honor song another example of racial bias (5/20)
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe calls for boycott in honor song flap (5/17)
School board won't allow honor song at graduation ceremony (5/14)
Native Sun News: School balks at honor song for graduation (5/6)
Editorial: Allow honor song at school graduation ceremony (04/30)
Indian students push for honor song at graduation ceremony (04/25)

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