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Mills College pow wow cancelled, students seek to revive tradition

After almost 20 years, the Mills College Pow Wow has been cancelled for this spring, but native students on campus are hoping to revive the event.

Although it is unclear at this point why the event was cancelled, some speculate that the decision was made because Professor Ann Metcalf, who has been the head organizer and academic support for the event, is on sick leave this year.

"We were already on our nineteenth year," said Kaylene Kimpel, who organized the event with Metcalf for the past fifteen years. "We had already gotten approved."

Metcalf informed Kimpel that the event was cancelled after Kimpel called to confirm the dates before flyering. Metcalf said when she was contacted by her department head Dan Ryan, who told her the event was cancelled, but gave her no clear explanation as to why the decision was made.

Although initially the head of the Ethnic Studies department, Professor Deborah Berman-Santana and the Native American Sisterhood Alliance refused to comment, as we were going to print NASA contacted The Weekly and said they wanted to figure out how to get better involved, but were still regrouping after previous events they put on this year.

"[Now] we're trying to figure out not only why it was cancelled, but what we can do to get back on track," said Leah Herrera, member of NASA.

Because the event is part of Metcalf's Cultural Anthropology class and is held under the Anthropology department, no indigenous student groups have been involved in the event since its initial organization. According to Herrera, there has not been an active group of native students on campus at all in the past few years. When NASA heard of the cancellation, she said they thought it would be even more of a chance to get involved.

"We saw it as an opportunity to collaborate on the project together and to reach out to the Bay Area indigenous community, which has been one of NASA's main objectives," said NASA member Morning Star Gali. NASA is still hoping to investigate why the event was cancelled and how they might tap into community resources to continue the pow wow.

Although Kimpel was approached by Professor Darby Price about helping with the event this year, Herrera said she believes there was a miscommunication. "We do hope to contact her out of respect for her organizing," Herrera said.

Kimpel and Metcalf do not plan on attempting to organize a pow wow for this year, but will reconsider continuing the tradition when Metcalf returns to teach in the fall.

Look for a follow-up story in next week's issue, when more information and plans are available.