Navajo on his father’s side and Kiowa on his mother’s side, Malachi grows his hair for religious beliefs, as his mother explains that, “Native Americans consider hair sacred and spiritual” (Rickert). After Malachi’s mother, April Wilson explained this to Sherrie Warren, principal of F.J. Elementary School, Warren proceeded to request proof that Malachi was American Indian. While Wilson told Warren that her child was a member of the Navajo tribe, Warren did not budge. In response, April Wilson “called the Navajo Nation to assist in the documentation process,” and she also “called a member of the American Indian Movement, who called the school district’s superintendent” (Rickert). Later that day, Wilson received a call from the school assuring her that Malachi could attend school if she signs a form explaining why he wears his hair long, and thankfully, Malachi has since joined his peers in his kindergarten class.
From this story, three main concepts stand out to me: ignorance and disrespect of others’ values, proving your identity, and the impact of discrimination.
While the situation has been resolved, the fact that this e...
... middle of paper ...
...es. As a Christian, I know that Native people are not the only people to have considered hair to be sacred. Just look at Samson in Judges 16:17: “‘No razor has ever been used on my head,’ he said, ‘because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.’”.
Something as seemingly simple as hair can be much more complex when we take the time to think about another person’s perspective, history, values, culture, and feelings. The interaction in Seminole, Texas wasn’t just about a haircut.
Rickert, Levi. (August 27, 2014). Five-year-old Navajo Boy Denied Admission on First Day of School Because His Hair is Too Long. Retrieved from http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/five-year-old-navajo-boy-denied-admission-first-day-school-hair-long/.
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