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Central Minnesota school board bars tribal drum group from graduation performance

The Hinckley-Finlayson school board said its participation may violate the U.S. Constitution

DULUTH - Students walked out of a central Minnesota school district Wednesday in protest of a decision to block a tribal drum group from performing at a graduation ceremony, a blow to the Native American students who make up nearly a third of the graduating class.

The Hinckley-Finlayson school board voted Monday, basing the decision partly on advice from legal counsel. The drum group, which hoped to perform the Ojibwe traveling song, took part in last year's ceremony. The district says it would no longer allow it, or performances from any other extracurricular groups.

A memo to the board said the school district's attorney cited the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which says government should remain neutral on religion.


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