Haaland, Miss Indian World, Gathering of Nations Announce Focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women at Nation’s Largest Powwow

Published April 20, 2019

Congresswoman Haaland welcomes Gathering of Nations to New Mexico’s First Congressional District

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Friday, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), Miss Indian World, and Gathering of Nations announced a focus on missing and murdered indigenous women awareness at the nation’s largest powwow. The Miss Indian World Competition at Gathering of Nations will bring attention to missing and murdered indigenous women as a call to action.

“As one of the world’s most recognized celebrations of Indigenous culture, this event plays an important role of making our history and our traditions visible for the world to see,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. “As we raise awareness about missing and murdered indigenous women across the country, there will be a focus on this silent crisis at this year’s powwow. I’m incredibly grateful for Miss Indian World for making this a priority and to the Gathering of Nations for their leadership.”

“The Gathering of Nations brings together tribes and Indigenous Nations from across North America and around the world to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Native Americans; from the traditional singing and dancing, contemporary music on Stage 49, Teepee Village, Trader’s Market to the best in Native American and World Cuisine; the Gathering of Nations offers everyone an opportunity to experience a very special and entrancing cultural event,” Derek Mathews, director of Gathering of Nations.

“This year the Miss Indian World Pageant is dedicating this year to recognizing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.  The Miss Indian World Pageant is the largest and most prestigious cultural pageant for young Native American Women.  With its popularity and attention, the program hopes to bring a call to action regarding the epidemic issue plaguing Native women.  Our efforts of bringing focus to this issue will be carried on after the event back to the communities most affected by this issue, with hope that change and greater community involvement will ensue,” Melonie Mathews, Program Coordinator of Miss Indian World Pageant.

“As the senior development director and government liaison, I am amazed and honored that this specific issue is being led by our very own Native American Congresswoman. The collaboration with Gathering of Nations is going to make an international impact and provide major support for Congresswoman Haaland’s work. I’m proud to stand with our Congresswoman,” David Bearshield, Gathering of Nations Senior Development Director and Government Liaison.

The full video of today’s press conference is available here.

Haaland is a leader working to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and hit the ground running raising awareness and championing tangible solutions on day one. After being elected in November, she attended U.S. Senate Hearings on the 2018 Savanna’s Act, she raised the issue in the media and called for solutions at the New Mexico legislature. Under her leadership as Vice Chair of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, the Subcommittee for Indigenous People of the United States held the first hearing on the issue in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Miss Indian World Competition gives young Native American women an opportunity to showcase their tribes and cultures; while serving as a cultural Ambassador of Native Americans by demonstrating the pride and continuance of the diverse cultures of Native people.

Congresswoman Haaland is a proud supporter of Gathering of Nations which is North America’s largest powwow and contributes to the economy of New Mexico’s First Congressional District. The event occurs April 25, 26, and 27 on the powwow grounds at Tingley Coliseum / Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico and includes a competition of Native American singing and dancing, featuring more than 3,000 participants from various Tribes across North America, contemporary music and performers, an Indian trade market, and traditional foods.

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