The dancing and singing continued Saturday at Haskell Indian Nations University's spring commencement powwow.
Dressed in his tribal regalia of a blue and white star-printed shirt, bells, feathers and a headdress, Terry Fiddler of Cheyenne River Sioux from South Dakota danced into the Haskell Indian Nations University's Coffin Complex on Saturday for the Grand Entry procession of the 1995 Haskell commencement powwow.
He was one of about 200 elaborately dressed dancers and about 50 vendors of food and art who came from as far as Canada to celebrate Haskell's graduation. The ceremonies began Friday and will continue through today.
It was Fiddler's second visit to a Haskell powwow, but powwows are a weekly event for him and his family. They travel all over the United States to participate in powwows.
"A lot of our people's tribes from all across the country come to school here," Fiddler said. "Their parents or grandparents have gone to school here and it is a tradition."
For the past three years, the powwow has been in Haskell Stadium. It was to move back to the powwow grounds, east of Haskell's main campus this year, but recent rains forced it into the gymnasium. Having it inside lowered the number of spectators at the celebration, said Freda Tapedo-Morris, powwow committee member.
Leanne Arnold, Lawrence resident, didn't let the indoor atmosphere discourage her. It was the first time she had been to a powwow, and she said it was more eventful than she had anticipated.
"I didn't expect all of the art and crafts," Arnold said. "I also like to watch the little kids dance because you don't think they would know what to do, but they all know the dances."
Participants of all ages joined in the intertribal dancing, which featured dances like men's grass dances and men's and women's fancy and traditional dances. Some also danced for money in six contest categories.
Jonathan Windy Boy of Rocky Boy, Mont., is known nationally for his grass dancing but did not participate at this powwow. He directed and supervised all of the dances.
He said powwows were important to the Indian heritage because of their strong roots.
"It is a gift to us and our people," Windy Boy said. "It has been with us for years, and there is a lot of description and stories of how all of this came about. The stories may vary from tribe to tribe, but it all comes from the same main source."