On April 28th and 29th, the sounds of jingles and drums could be heard loud and clear in Albuquerque, while pow wow goers experienced North America’s largest pow wow, the Gathering of Nations. This year, Gathering of Nations organizers moved the event from the University of New Mexico’s arena, “The Pit,” to the Tingley Coliseum: a multi-purpose arena known for hosting rodeos and other large events.
The new venue is much smaller than the old, which led many to wonder whether the already-crowded contest pow wow would be too congested. However, attendance was strong but not overbearing. The pow wow was full and lively as usual.
Thousands of dancers, drummers and spectators traveled to Albuquerque from indigenous territories all over the world to include northernmost Canada to southernmost Mexico and beyond.
It was cold in New Mexico this year for the Gathering of Nations. For the entire weekend, the rain poured, winds blew, and even a little snow fell. But that didn’t stop the world-class dance contests, the parade of pow wow princesses from reservations far and wide, or the exchange of beautiful beadwork and other indigenous art at the vendor booths.
The Miss Indian World pageant took place on Gathering grounds, this year drawing 23 contestants from many nations and backgrounds. Raven Swamp, Mohawk from Kahnawake, Quebec, took home the title.
Over the course of the 2017-2018 pow wow season, Ms. Swamp will serve as a cultural ambassador representing indigenous people and will travel worldwide sharing her message. Danielle Ta’sheena Finn of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe held the title last year.
The photos here are by Thosh Collins (Onk Akimel O’Odham, Wa-Zha-Zhi, Haudenosaunee), who traveled from his home in Salt River, Arizona to Albuquerque this year to capture the sights of the Gathering of Nations.