Sunday, April 26, 2009

Native to New Mexico: The 26th Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow

These last few weeks have been pretty incredible—riding around town and the Albuquerque area, taking in the sites and the numerous events that are happening this spring.

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the 26th Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow at the University of New Mexico’s athletic space known as “The Pit.” It is the most prominent Native American pow wow in the world, and I was glad that I was able to experience it my first month in the Southwest.

The event symbolizes the richness and the diversity of Native American and First People tribes from all over the world. Event organizers estimate that 500 tribes from the United States, Canada and beyond participated in the pow wow--coming together to crown a new Miss Indian World, compete in tribal dance competitions and celebrate their cultures through live music performances by prominent Native singers and musicians.

Additionally, over 600 vendors opened up shop for the three-day extravaganza that lasted from April 23 through April 25. There was plenty of Native-made jewelry for sale, and handicrafts abounded, but the best thing to had by spectators were the memories of this wonderful celebration. It was fascinating to see the variations of Native dress and to feel the warmth, hospitality and uplifting energy of all the First Peoples in attendance. I also enjoyed meeting flute maker and recording artist Guillermo Martinez and artist Viento--both, very talented men. Check out Guillermo's and Bamboo Cedar Oak's CD "Songs of Our Grandfathers." You won't be disappointed!

(Flute by Guillermo Martinez)

Here is a short video from the day. Keep in mind, it only does mild justice to the real thing:

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