Local community center hosting unofficial Haskell graduation; student newspaper hosting virtual ceremony

photo by: Nick Krug

A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate watches the commencement while wearing a decorated cap during the 2018 commencement ceremony on Friday, May 18, 2018 at the Coffin Sports Complex.

Graduating students at Haskell Indian Nations University have the option to celebrate their accomplishments in person or virtually on Friday, thanks to a local community center and a Haskell student organization.

Sacred Ground Haskell, a community center and campus ministry organization across the street from the university, will be hosting a graduation ceremony, dinner and powwow for Haskell graduates.

Deon Prue, ministry leader at Sacred Ground Haskell, said the celebration would be for Haskell students who graduated in the spring of 2020 or fall of 2020, in addition to those graduating this spring. These students did not have the opportunity to have a real graduation ceremony at Haskell because of the COVID-19 pandemic and precautions surrounding the health of students and families.

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Native American communities, and Haskell has done virtual instruction since March of 2020.

Prue said the in-person graduation ceremony put on by Sacred Ground Haskell will take place outdoors and that masks will be required.

Friday’s celebration will include a graduation at 5 p.m., a catered meal at 6 p.m. for graduates and their families and a powwow at 7 p.m. The public is invited to join in on the festivities. The public cannot participate in the catered meal, but food vendors will be on hand at the event.

In addition to the in-person event, a virtual celebration option will also be available.

Haskell’s student newspaper, the Haskell Indian Leader, will broadcast a video celebrating graduates from 2020 and 2021 at 10 a.m. on the Indian Leader’s Youtube page. Students who graduated in 2020 and 2021 were asked to submit a video of themselves stating their name, tribe and graduation year.

As for the university, Haskell President Ronald Graham said at the end of April that Haskell would host a virtual graduation ceremony. The message, which was posted on Haskell’s Facebook page on April 29, said details about the official virtual graduation would be available soon. No further details about the graduation have been released on Facebook. The Journal-World reached out to Graham, the Bureau of Indian Education and another Haskell administrator on Monday regarding the details of the graduation, but did not receive a response.


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