- By ALINA BYKOVA
The largest powwow in North America and the United States will take place virtually again in 2021 due Covid-10 restrictions.
The Gathering of Nations (GON) powwow is held annually in April in Albuquerque, N. M. Upwards of 72,000 people have attended the in-person event in past years, and over 565 tribes from the United States and 220 from Canada have travelled to Albuquerque to participate in the past. More than 3,000 singers and dancers take part in the powwow annually.
The powwow was moved online in April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which swept the world last spring and continues to limit large public gatherings.
“Due to Coronavirus, there are strict limitations on holding large events in New Mexico,” the Visit Albuquerque website said.
As a result, the 2021 event, which is scheduled for April 23 and 24, will once again feature live singing and dancing via Zoom and the Indian Traders Market will be virtual as well.
The first day is free for all viewers, and the second day will cost $9.99 as a pay per view to access the Live Competition Dancing, the Gathering of Nations schedule says.
Day One starts at 1 p.m. MT and will show reruns of GON’s best contest moments from prior years, a music concert, and a Zoom dance party hosted by DJ Logic.
Day Two will feature the all ages contest powwow on Zoom, a special farewell to Miss Indian World 2019-2021, Cheyenne Kippenberger, replays of the 2018 horse and rider regalia parade, and a music performance and dance party.
The GON page says that registration for all dancers is free and that the first 100 dancers over age 14 will get free admission to GON 2022.
“Since March 2020, all ‘in person’ events have either been postponed, cancelled or moved to a virtual platform. The unpredictability of planning for an in person event during the pandemic is not possible,” GON wrote on their website. “The Gathering of Nations Powwow in 2021 will be a live virtual powwow that will include contest dancing, a variety of festive entertainment and the Traders' Market. All of the vendors scheduled to be in the 2020 Gathering of Nations Powwow will once again be featured, highlighted and promoted during the live virtual event.”
“As of December 1, 2020, the State of New Mexico (where the Gathering of Nations Powwow is held) is under the highest level of restrictions due to the ongoing Covid-19 high positivity of cases in the State and around the country. In March we had no idea that the duration of this pandemic would linger this long,” the organization said online. “Large-scale in-person events and gatherings will be limited until the severity of the positivity rate significantly declines and availability of the vaccine not just in New Mexico but around the country is accessible.”
The GON website says that a link to purchase event tickets for the virtual powwow will be posted in late March or early April.
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.