Gathering of Nations Pow Wow

Pow Wow Dancers
© Gathering of Nations

The Gathering of Nations Pow Wow comes to Albuquerque the last full weekend of April for a spectacular, unique display of Native American arts, culture and music. The Gathering brings together over 3,000 indigenous/Native American/Indian dancers and singers representing more than 500 tribes from throughout the U.S., Canada and the world for three days of art, dance, music and song. Events take place at the Convention Center and at the University of New Mexico's University arena, the "Pit."

The 2016 Gathering of Nations runs April 28-30.

The Gathering of Nations is much more than a gathering. More than 3,000 traditional Native American dancers and singers compete in traditional dances; over 800 artisans display and sell their work; indigenous bands perform in a variety of musical genres on the celebrated Stage 49. There is even a DJ glow dance event and a fashion show. Food vendors in the Native Food Court provide an array of choices in southwestern and Native American fare. There is a great deal to see and do, which is why many go to the Gathering more than one day.

Pow wows are social gatherings and celebrations. They contain dance competitions and most dances represent the unity of life and form in a circle. The regalia worn in a dance represents special events, traditions or symbols important to the wearer. 

What can you expect at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow? You'll see Native Americans in traditional dress performing dances specific to their tribes. You'll get to taste Native foods and can purchase arts and crafts. The Gathering provides a broad glimpse into the indigenous cultures of our nation and many others.

Opening Night
The Gathering begins with the Miss Indian World competition at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 at the Albuquerque Convention Center downtown. The young Native American woman who is chosen represents all native and indigenous people as a cultural goodwill ambassador. Contestants display their tribal knowledge through interviews, essays, public speaking, traditional presentations and their unique tribal dance. Miss Indian World serves as a role model and demonstrates the beauty and diversity of Native American culture.

Grand Entry
The Grand Entry takes place Friday, April 29 at the Pit at noon and again at 6 p.m. In a spectacular display, thousands of Native American dancers in traditional costumes enter the arena to the sound of beating drums. Miss Indian World is crowned after the evening Grand Entry. 

Indian Market
You'll find a wide array of arts and crafts, from traditional beadwork to jewelry, drums, leatherwork, paintings and more. The market has traditional native arts as well as modern takes on traditional works.

Stage 49
35 entertainers, 60 performances on four stages gives a glimpse into what to expect from Stage 49. Native musicians perform all genres, to include country, reggae, rock n' roll, hip-hop, rhythm and blues and more. The music and entertainment on Stage 49 is included with general admission to the event. The stage is found outside of the Pit.

Red Thunder Rolling
The annual motorcycle journey to the Gathering of Nations will take place April 25 for 2016. Each year the ride benefits a Native American cause. This year's ride benefits the Manuelito Navajo Children's Home in Gallup. The ride begins in Gallup at the Fire Rock Navajo Casino and ends at the Gathering of Nations. Call Paul Bemore at (928) 729-6253 for information. Cost to ride is $25.

General admission in advance through April 26 is is $22.50 per day, $44 for a two day pass. Entry for Miss Indian World on April 28 is $19.50. VIP seats are $74, and are good for April 29 and 30. Tickets can be purchased online and picked up at Will Call, or at the door. Prices are higher at the door.

For participants and guests coming for the event, host hotels will be MCM Elegante (505) 884-2511, Double Tree Downtown (800) 584-5058, Sheraton Hotel Airport (800) 227-1117, Hotel Cascada (505) 888-3311, Barcelona Suites (505) 255-5566, Towne Place Suites Airport (group rates), Home2 Suites by Hilton (505) 242-0002 and the Staybridge Suites North, (505) 266-7829. Ask for the special Gathering of Nations rate. Suggested campgrounds include KOA Kampgrounds (505) 296-2729, Isleta Lakes (505) 244-8102 and American RV Park (505) 831-3545.


Find out more about the Gathering of Nations.