Friday

So, as a graduation present, her parents decided to surprise her with something she will cherish forever.

In the video, taken by her mom, Moneek is standing in her kitchen talking with some relatives.

"I had just walked for my graduation and got my diploma," she says.

It takes her a moment to realize her dad is holding a feather fan — a sacred object used in pow wows. She gasps. And then bursts into tears. She hugs her dad, feathers in hand.

For those who don't know, it is frowned upon in most Indigenous cultures to pay money for feathers. Moneek says, "I was taught to never buy feathers. If you get some for trade or if you are lucky and they are found, I see it as a symbol from above."

She says her parents came across the feathers for her fan and started getting them "fixed and prepared by a good friend" about two years ago.


"I cried out of joy because it showed me that all my hard work though high school and the days of struggle paid off."


"18 years old today finally! In a short time of my life I have come to accomplish a lot, a lot I really couldn't see before, a lot that I thought was normal for kids my age. I have had my bad of times, but I didn't let it stop me I stayed on my goals that I wanted in life, yes I lost a lot of people in my life that I wish had stayed to get here , but I survived and this is only the first half of my life. In the end of it all, when I hold my degree in my hand with a career at the tips of my fingers, I will know those were only little sacrifices, so that I will be able to push through boundaries. I want to say thank you to my parents , aunties, and uncles for always being there for me.Moneek Denny
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