Gathering of Nations: Native American Culture in Albuquerque

Gathering of Nations: Native American Culture in Albuquerque

Gathering of Nations ©ChanningConchoEvery year during the third week of April, Albuquerque is inundated with visitors from around the globe. What began in 1983 as a small community pow-wow, or Native American social gathering, has grown into one of the largest celebrations of Native American culture in the world.

Called Gathering of Nations, the celebration takes place right here in Albuquerque and is one of our city's largest annual events with more than 3,000 dancers participating. More than 500 tribal nations across the United States and Canada come together to be part of this special "gathering" event.

Gathering of Nations ©Channing Concho

To see so many of our indigenous people come together for this celebration of art, music, food, family and tradition inspires tremendous pride in the Native community. But it is also an inspiring event for everyone, and we encourage people of all backgrounds to join us to experience tribal traditions from across North America. 

For first-timers, my recommendation is to attend the Grand Entry of Dancers. This year the event takes place on Friday and Saturday of the event (check the online schedule for final times). The entire floor of Wise Pies Arena (otherwise known as The Pit) will be packed shoulder to shoulder with dancers, so many that the performers typically overflow onto the stadium stairs. Imagine more than a thousand dancers, elders, children and adults, in their beadwork and colorful attire, moving together to a single beat, one heartbeat, one song of celebration.  

Another standout event is Miss Indian World, which brings together 25-30 women for the purpose of selecting a perfect ambassador to represent the Gathering of Nations and all tribal nations from Alaska to Florida. The contestants are judged in a number of categories on cultural knowledge from their tribal communities. Miss Indian World serves as a role model to young and old, and throughout her one year reign, her duties are to educate, as well as demonstrate and celebrate the beauty and diversity of Native American culture. Please check the Gathering of Nations website for final event information. 

For more than a decade, the newly crowned Miss Indian World has made her very first public appearance at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center during the American Indian Week: Pueblo Days FestivalAmerican Indian Week is a four-day celebration devoted to Pueblo culture that takes place annually during Gathering of Nations. In addition to meeting Miss Indian World, you can meet and purchase hand-crafted goods from Native American artisans at the Spring Arts Market, see traditional Pueblo dances, and enjoy Pueblo-inspired cuisine


Gathering of Nations, Miss Indian World ©ShawnaShandiinSunrise
For more information, head to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Facebook page. We also recommend watching this short film of the event below, filmed by Keeley Gould and featured on National Geographic.


Shawna is from both Dine (Navajo) & Kewa (Santo Domingo Pueblo) communities. She is a fifth generation Dine weaver, photographer, filmmaker, installation and performance artist, actress and Native community organizer in arts through media, education and cultural issues. She is currently the Manager of Public Programs at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
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