Chelsey Ramer
Chelsey Ramer, 17, at Escambia Academy High School's graduation ceremony on May 23 with her eagle feather on her tassel.

Poarch Creek Student’s Fine Raised by Online Donations


Just five days after starting a campaign to help the Ramer family raise the $1,000 the Escambia Academy school board said it would fine Chelsey Ramer, the money has been raised in full.

The “Chelsey Ramer can’t graduate because she is proud to be Native American” campaign was started by Dan Morrison, communications director at First Peoples Worldwide. Yesterday, the fund had $177, today it’s overfunded at $1,050. Morrison says on the campaign site that if more money is raised or if the academy doesn’t make the family pay, the money will go toward Chelsey’s education.

Chelsey is the 17-year-old member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who wore an eagle feather on her graduation cap May 23 and been in the news since. (Related story: “Poarch Creek Student Fined for Wearing Eagle Feather at Graduation”)

Contributions listed on the site ranged from $2 to $476 per person and comments were positive. Natalia Corres reminded Chelsey to know she is supported and Jeremiah LaRoche said “represent and always be proud.”

The school hasn’t said whether it will make the family pay the fine and won’t be open again until Monday.

Chelsey’s family hasn’t released a statement yet regarding the fine being raised. In a letter to media earlier this week, Debra Jackson Ramer, Chelsey’s mother, said:

“The outpouring of support has been tremendous. We can not say thank you enough. It is astounding how one very discreet, yet very poinet (sic) display of pride can grab the attention of so many people. It is our hope that you all are as passionate about many other important issues to not only our community, but our tribe, our state, our country and the world. Please continue with the phone calls, the text messages, the emails and the petitions, on matters that are important to you. It is our hope and ambition that one day every human being in the world will have the oppurtinuty (sic) to discreetly and proudly display symbols of their heritage, spiritual and religious beliefs without consequence, as this countries constitution intended.”

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Song Hawk 's picture
Song Hawk
Submitted by Song Hawk on
Why has this discriminatory attitude not been legally challenged? This is outrageous that a school board can willfully disrespect our native culture....It must be illegal to withhold a diploma! She earned it!!! It's disgracful behavior! This young woman has terrific courage and grace...! Goddess Bless....

Kay Taylor's picture
Kay Taylor
Submitted by Kay Taylor on
If she's underage, she cannot be fined; by law, she cannot enter a legal agreement for the fine to be applied.. I'm confused,, I'm proud of her integrity to herself. More of us need to stand up for ourselves, all the way down to the stuff that seems too unimportant and little to those in charge. (Then why do they demand?)

Terri Homer's picture
Terri Homer
Submitted by Terri Homer on
This is so sad to me , everyone has a right to their religious beliefs , oh yeah we live in the U. S. run by the people who stole our land , took away the language and massacred as many of our ancestors as possible . Remember WE SHALL RETURN ! Not only us , but many awakened ones .