Commencement Pow-Wow, Fenced In

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By Janice Mendez

Lawrence, KS – On May 11th and 12th, a six foot tall chain link fence will be surrounding the Commencement Pow-wow grounds to greet graduates, parents, families, students, staff and guests.  And, YES, there will be a $5.00 gate fee for the weekend, charged to everyone, no exceptions.

The Pow-Wow Committee raised nearly $20,000 last year and is close to that amount for this year’s pow-wow.  According to Advisor, Steve Byington, the Committee paid $1,400 to have the temporary fence installed last year and will most likely pay the same amount this year.

Not only will graduates contend with this encroachment to their great achievement.  They will also be faced with where to house their families that travel afar.  The pow-wow is the same time as the Kansas University graduation and motel/hotel rooms will be fully booked leaving many families to find lodging in surrounding towns.  Motel 6, the cheapest room in town at $51.99, are now fully booked and other motels rates such as Econolodge for May 10th begins at $80 and the weekend rates for graduation are $130 per night.

Byington said, “The pow-wow is a time to honor the graduates.  The committee is giving time on Friday night if families want to honor their graduate.  We just need to know ahead of time.”

What does honoring graduates mean if there is a price tag tagged to it?  A person has to pay at the gate to get into the pow-wow and bring gifts to give out as a show of thanks to those who helped the graduate succeed; this means that the people that are being thanked have to pay to enter the arena to receive their thank you gift.  Graduates need to ensure that their families bring plenty of money because everything at this Commencement Pow-wow has a price to it.

“I think by gating up a celebration of cultural diversity it is automatically discriminating against families of lesser means,” said Joshua Woosypitti, graduate and Head Man dancer on Friday night.  “Considering how many people pay, some are turned off by paying for a pow-wow that even has some head staff paying for entrance.  What does it say when the Pow-wow Committee charges Haskell Indian Nations Royalty.  That is an example of how traditionalism does lie with greed.  Even though I don’t agree for charging an entrance fee, I’m still willing to dance during this celebration and for my graduate peers that will be walking alongside me in May. “

The Pow-wow Committee has yet to decide if they will presale wrist bands to students at a discount and are also waiting to hear from Haskell administration on the amount they will be donating.

Vending fees this year:          $350.00           Food Vendor – 240 Volt

200.00                                   120 outlet

300.00           Arts & Crafts 20 Ft. Front

175.00                                   10 Ft. Front


Haskell student clubs will pay half the fee and be given four weekend passes for workers.  Any additional workers must pay $5.00 for admission to the event.


The Committee is still finalizing details for the pow-wow.  If you have questions or concerns you can attend their meeting at 5 PM every Wednesday in the Regent’s room in Navarre.