Native American Student Cierra Fields Says She Was Removed From Class

Courtesy Cierra Fields / Cierra Fields, a Fort Gibson high school student and member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation, says she was removed from her classroom on Tuesday morning, February 28th after refusing to stand for or say the pledge of allegiance. Fields is a Champion for Change, anti-rape advocate and correspondent for ICMN.

Champion for Change Cierra Fields, a student at Fort Gibson High, was also told to take alternate online course

Cierra Fields, a Fort Gibson high school student and member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, says she was removed from her classroom on Tuesday morning, February 28 after refusing to stand for or say the pledge of allegiance. Fields, a Champion for Change, anti-rape advocate and correspondent for ICMN, says soon after she said she would not participate, she received a verbal lashing from her teacher.

“After I said I was not going to participate, my teacher raised her voice and said she refused to educate ungodly and unpatriotic students. She was angry and told me that perhaps I needed to take an online course in lieu of the class,” said Fields.

Courtesy Terri Fields / Cierra Fields marching for Native Rape Survivors and the Violence Against Women’s Act at the Women’s March in Oklahoma.

“After I refused to pledge to the flag, my teacher removed me from class by taking me into the hallway in direct view of some of the students. My teacher questioned me and screamed at me about how her father missed a year of her life in Vietnam and how her husband was an Afghanistan war veteran,” Fields said.

Fields also said the teacher questioned Cierra’s potential disrespect toward her own father’s military service, a 10-year U.S. Army veteran.

“Not only has my family served in all branches of the military, they served for my right to not pledge and/or stand. I don’t stand or pledge because the flag is an idol and I consider pledging to an object idolatry. As a Native youth, I do not agree that there is liberty and justice for all people.”

“To tell me such a thing and bring into question my rights to take a stance is in direct violation of the First Amendment and West Virginia State School Board Vs. Barnette. Such behavior by a teacher also violates the Religious Freedom Act of 1978, as it questions my beliefs,” she said.

Vincent Schilling / When Cierra Fields was only 14, was named one of five 2013 Champions for Change by the Center for Native American Youth.

Fort Gibson principal Gary Sparks told ICMN no one was removed from class, and gave a contradictory account of the incident. He also told ICMN that understands that a student has the right to not stand for the flag ceremony and that students who do not wish to participate can come to the principal’s office to wait it out.

“We did not have any students removed from class for not standing. During third period, we always do the flag salute and the teacher just asked [Fields] why she didn’t want to. [The student] explained why she didn’t and asked if she could come down to the office, which she was allowed to do,” he said.

“Everyone has a right not to stand if they don’t want to. We have a couple of students who do that too; so they do that quietly while we do the flag salute and we just move on,” said Sparks.

“Everyone has their right to do what they need to do. That’s how America works.”

Cierra Field’s mother, Terri Henderson-Fields, told ICMN in an e-mail that she was upset and that that members of her family have served in the military. She also said the teacher bringing into question Cierra’s potential disrespect toward her own father’s military service by not doing the Pledge of Allegiance was unacceptable. “Cierra’s father Richard served the Army for 10 years. My father served in Vietnam. My father-in-law served in Korea. My grandfather served in WWII. We have given blood, sweat, tears and even lives for this country and Cierra’s right not to pledge.”

Instagram / When the White House convened its first United State of Women Summit in 2016. Cierra Fields, a 17-year-old advocate against sexual assault and a rape survivor from Fort Gibson, Oklahoma (Cherokee) was one of eight women brought to Washington D.C. by the White House to attend.

The Fields family has asked the school and the teacher to issue an apology. They have also asked for the Fort Gibson High School to consider a traditional Cherokee representative to attend or speak at the school’s graduation ceremony this summer, when Cierra Fields hopes to get her diploma.

Follow Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) – ICMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wow, Sports Editor, News Photographer and Political Contributor – Follow

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