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New Mexico’s Gathering of Nations powwow back after pandemic

April 29, 2022 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — What is billed by organizers as the world’s largest powwow is being held in person in Albuquerque for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gathering of Nations returned Friday following an all-virtual platform the last two years.

The festivities included a grand entrance, with hundreds of dancers moving to the beat of traditional drums as participants filled an arena at the New Mexico state fairgrounds. Dancing and singing competitions followed. The event wraps up late Saturday with the crowning of Miss Indian World.

Hundreds of Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders also are displaying and selling their work during the event.

In 2019, the Gathering of Nations drew more than 80,000 people from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and had an economic impact of more than $24 million, said event founder and director Derek Mathews.

Like other powwows, the annual event is an opportunity for tribal members to gather and to honor and showcase their cultures through dancing and singing competitions.