Native Americans Gather in Albuquerque for Annual Powwow
Photos by SANDI FAHY
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - There were no basketballs bouncing on the court that day. It was the sound of drums that filled the University of New Mexico Arena (also known as "The Pit") on April 24. The air was festive as over 3,000 elaborately costumed dancers representing 500 Native American tribes from all over the United States and Canada took the floor. The dancers made their way down the aisles as their tribe was introduced. The 25th annual Gathering of Nations Powwow, the largest event of its kind in North America, was under way. The "Grand Entry" was preceded by a welcome address by Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez.
Later that day the competition dancing, singing and drum contests would take place. Over $175,000 would be awarded . A hoop dance exhibition was also on the agenda. Outside the arena, under a giant tent, were 800 artists, crafters and traders displaying their wares at the Indian Traders Market. The market offered a truly unique shopping experience. Indian art, silver jewelry adorned with turquoise, coral and spiny oyster, beadwork, animal skin rugs, pottery, flutes and buffalo drums were among the thousands of items for sale. On "Stage 49", visitors could take in the entertainment provided by top Native American musicians.
A number of smaller powwows are scheduled across the United States and Canada over the summer months. The Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow recently took place in Marksville, Louisiana. The month of June brings the 2nd Annual Chicken Dance World Championships in Siksika Nation, Alberta, Canada, and the 7th Annual Sky Ute Casino Contest Pow Wow in Ignacio, Colorado. The Post Falls, Idaho, pow wow in July will feature a horse parade.
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