Discover the history, activities, and reasons why people love and celebrate the Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow). From dance competitions and cultural demonstrations to community building and intergenerational connections, this powwow offers a rich and vibrant celebration of Native American culture and tradition.
The Gathering of Nations (also known as the “Gow Pow”) is an annual Native American powwow that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the United States. The event began in 1983 and has grown to become one of the largest powwows in North America, with thousands of Native American dancers, singers, and spectators attending each year. The Gathering of Nations celebrates Native American culture and heritage, with traditional dancing, drumming, singing, and other cultural activities. It also includes a market area where Native American crafts and goods are sold, as well as food vendors and other entertainment. The event has become a significant cultural and economic event for Native Americans and the city of Albuquerque.
When is Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow)
The Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow) is typically held in late April or early May each year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, it’s important to note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been postponed or cancelled in recent years. It’s best to check the official Gathering of Nations website or social media pages for the most up-to-date information on the scheduling and status of the event.
History of Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow)
The Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow) was first held in 1983 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event was founded by Derek Mathews, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, who wanted to create a powwow that would bring together Native Americans from all over the United States and Canada. Mathews saw the powwow as an opportunity for Native Americans to showcase their cultures and traditions, as well as to educate non-Native Americans about their way of life.
The first Gathering of Nations was held at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Field, with around 3,000 people in attendance. Over the years, the event has grown significantly, with thousands of dancers, singers, and spectators from all over the world participating each year.
In addition to showcasing traditional Native American dance, music, and art, the Gathering of Nations also hosts a variety of competitions, including the Miss Indian World pageant, which recognizes the leadership and cultural knowledge of young Native American women.
Today, the Gathering of Nations is one of the largest and most prestigious powwows in North America, attracting visitors and participants from around the globe. It has become an important cultural event for Native Americans and a celebration of their traditions, as well as an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to learn about and appreciate Native American culture.
Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow) Timeline
Here is a timeline of some of the key events and milestones in the history of the Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow):
- 1983: The first Gathering of Nations is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with around 3,000 people in attendance.
- 1984: The Gathering of Nations moves to the Tingley Coliseum at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, where it remains to this day.
- 1985: The Miss Indian World pageant is introduced as part of the Gathering of Nations.
- 1996: The Gathering of Nations receives a National Endowment for the Arts grant, recognizing its importance in preserving and promoting Native American culture.
- 2000: The Gathering of Nations celebrates its 18th anniversary, with over 3,000 Native American dancers and singers participating in the powwow.
- 2003: The Gathering of Nations partners with the National Museum of the American Indian to host a special exhibition on powwow culture.
- 2013: The Gathering of Nations celebrates its 30th anniversary, with over 3,000 dancers and 150,000 spectators attending the powwow.
- 2014: The Gathering of Nations launches a mobile app to help visitors navigate the powwow and stay up-to-date on the latest events and news.
- 2018: The Gathering of Nations is cancelled due to financial difficulties, but is later revived and held in a scaled-down format.
- 2020: The Gathering of Nations is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 2021: The Gathering of Nations is postponed to the fall due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow) Activities
The Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow) features a wide range of activities that celebrate Native American culture and heritage. Here are some of the key activities and events that visitors can expect to experience:
- Grand Entry: The powwow begins with the Grand Entry, in which hundreds of Native American dancers and drummers enter the arena in a colorful and dramatic procession.
- Dance Competitions: The Gathering of Nations features numerous dance competitions, including categories for men, women, children, and teams. Dancers compete in various styles, including traditional, fancy, jingle, and grass dancing.
- Drumming and Singing: The powwow also features drumming and singing competitions, with drum groups from across North America participating.
- Miss Indian World Pageant: The Miss Indian World pageant is a highlight of the Gathering of Nations, with young Native American women competing in categories such as traditional talent, public speaking, and personal interviews.
- Art and Craft Vendors: The powwow features a large marketplace where visitors can browse and purchase traditional Native American arts, crafts, and goods.
- Food Vendors: A variety of Native American and Southwestern foods are available for purchase, including fry bread, Indian tacos, and other traditional dishes.
- Cultural Demonstrations: The Gathering of Nations also offers a variety of cultural demonstrations and educational activities, including storytelling, language lessons, and workshops on traditional arts and crafts.
Overall, the Gathering of Nations offers a rich and vibrant celebration of Native American culture and tradition, with something for visitors of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy.
Why We Love and Celebrate Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow)
There are many reasons why people love and celebrate the Gathering of Nations (Gow Pow). Here are just a few:
- Celebration of Culture: The powwow is a celebration of Native American culture and heritage, showcasing the rich traditions, music, dance, art, and customs of Indigenous communities from across North America.
- Community Building: The Gathering of Nations brings together Native American communities from across the continent, as well as visitors from around the world, fostering connections, friendship, and solidarity.
- Educational Opportunities: The powwow offers a range of educational opportunities, including workshops, cultural demonstrations, and performances, allowing visitors to learn about and appreciate the diversity and complexity of Native American culture.
- Beauty and Pageantry: The powwow is a visually stunning event, with hundreds of colorful dancers, ornate costumes, and intricate beadwork and embroidery on display. The Miss Indian World pageant is also a highlight, showcasing the beauty, intelligence, and leadership of young Native American women.
- Intergenerational Connections: The powwow brings together people of all ages, from children to elders, promoting intergenerational connections and honoring the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of older generations.
- Spirituality and Healing: For many Native Americans, the powwow is also a spiritual and healing event, offering opportunities for prayer, ceremony, and connection to the natural world.
Overall, the Gathering of Nations is a beloved and cherished event for Native Americans and non-Native Americans alike, offering a powerful celebration of culture, community, and tradition.