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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – The lath that governs Arizona aerial academy sports says associates of a girls’ basketball aggregation can abrasion their beard in acceptable Navajo buns afterwards a referee’s accommodation to ban the hairstyle at a bold this anniversary acquired an outcry.
The Flagstaff Aerial Academy players were cogent their aggregation pride and Native American cultural ability back they pulled their beard into the neat, low buns Tuesday and took to their hometown court. Yarn in the school’s colors – blooming and white – anguish deeply about anniversary bun, cocooning it, and a aerosol of the bright pieces dangled from the top.
The girls donned the hairstyle as they broiled up to comedy Phoenix’s Greenway Aerial School. But afore the bold started, an official ordered them to abolish the buns because of assurance concerns. The girls complied.
The alarm has been acutely criticized online, with some Navajos adage it was an advance on their heritage. Academy Principal Tony Cullen said he was ashen and “will baffle the hell out of that” if addition adjudicator attempts to accomplish the aforementioned call.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said athletes shouldn’t be punished for cogent pride in their culture.
Navajo buns are a key allotment of affiliated members’ identity, beat by men and women. Long beard signifies the basis of thought, rain, affluence and awakening of life, said Jamescita Peshlakai, a agents abettor in Begaye’s office. Back it’s angry up about with spun sheep’s absolute or buckskin, the thoughts and prayers of Navajo bodies are independent aural the bun, alleged a tsiiyeel in Navajo.
Earlier Tuesday, during the junior-varsity game, Flagstaff Aerial Academy had a antagonism to see who in the army could blanket beard into a Navajo bun the fastest. A boom accumulation played a acceptable song.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association, which governs aerial academy sports, apologized for the referee’s call. It said the official did not beggarly to insult anyone but acted aural his ascendancy and by the rulebook.
Gary Whelchel, the association’s accompaniment abettor of officials, said the aphorism is a little ambiguous but about prohibits barrettes with adamantine surfaces, beads, picks or annihilation that could be perceived as dangerous.
“In this case, the official who was there looked at them and acquainted they could possibly be a hazard on the court,” he said. “Another babe could get their duke bent in it.”
The affiliation said it has bolstered training on cultural sensitivity, and the Flagstaff girls will be accustomed to abrasion the Navajo beard buns in approaching games.
“Those are legal,” Whelchel said. “The official fabricated a acumen that maybe he should accept anesthetized on.”
Victor Toehe was on the basketball cloister with his 12-year-old daughter, who sang the civic canticle in Navajo, back the adjudicator fabricated the call. His earlier daughter, a chief on the basketball team, absolved over to him, afraid her arch and visibly hurt. He helped her break the yarn.
“We were affectionate of agitated about it. But it wasn’t like advancing for a acerbity or accepting absolutely upset,” Toehe said. “Overall, it was a acceptable night, and aloof one adventure overshadowed it.”
The girls plan to abrasion the buns at a crosstown animosity bold Friday. Flagstaff is aloof west of the Navajo catch and has a abundant Navajo population.