Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday encore ~ Wowed

This encore post is from one year ago. The Gathering of Nations Powwow
is being held again this weekend, and I'm kicking myself for not being there.
It moved to a new venue, and I foolishly decided to wait a year
before returning while the organizers worked out the kinks.
Seeing these pictures again and remembering just how spectacular it was
reinforces the stupidity of that decision. 

UPDATE: Here is a link to the live stream of today's event...not sure what time it will start.


 I spent Friday at the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque.

 I've always wanted to attend this annual event but for one stupid reason 
or another, never have until now.   

 I can't believe I've been missing out on this
all these years.

 Around 2,800 dancers from 700 tribes in the United States and Canada gather
to compete and celebrate and generally knock the socks off of everyone
who goes there to watch.

I took my camera, not knowing what to expect.

The event is held at the University of New Mexico basketball arena, 
and I figured I'd be too far away to shoot anything decent.

But I wandered down to the floor level, tried to stay out of everyone's way,
and merrily took about 400 pictures in an hour's time.

I was standing next to a bank of loudspeakers, otherwise I would have
snapped away all afternoon. Ringing ears were a small price to pay
for being so close to the action.

The dancers' regalia was nothing short of amazing.
I got bopped in the head a few times by these feathers 
but didn't mind a bit.

This is the same dancer's headpiece from the back.

All the dancers' outfits were handmade and adorned with unique combinations of
beadwork, feathers, pelts, feathers, jingles, feathers, claws, feathers,
quills, feathers, ribbons, bones, fringe, horns... and then more feathers.
Every single one was a work of art.

The dancers compete by age group and type of dance.
I couldn't figure out the steps or the patterns or why one dancer
was better or worse than the others, but it didn't affect my enjoyment one bit.
I do know it was impossible not to move my own feet
to the mesmerizing beats of the drummers.

At the end of each dance, the participants congratulated each other.
The female dancers shook hands...

...the male dancers high-fived.

I was so intrigued by the headpieces that I didn't get many pictures
of the dancers' feet,

many of which jingled from seed pods or bells.

I didn't notice the bird on this dancer's head when I took the picture.

Albuquerque is famous for another annual event – the Balloon Fiesta –
but now having been to both, I prefer the Gathering of Nations.

And did I mention the shopping? 

I came home with this box made of buffalo hide,

a necklace,

and a flying war horse, 
say nothing of the unforgettable memories from being able 
to share in a celebration of Native American culture.


  1. I love those photos, especially the children. I can't believe you didn't go this year either.

  2. I would very much love to visit this gathering. I love drums and love the sound of the southwestern drums and all this brilliant color. OH MY.. love it.

  3. Some of my favorite photos ever. Aunt Jean

  4. Replies
    1. I'm envious. Have a spectacular time!

  5. Yep. WOW! Great photos too.

  6. I have been to a small one here in North Carolina. I can once again feel the power of the drums through your photos. Thank you

    Emily in NC

  7. Amazing...I did watch the link last year and loved all the dancing and drums.
    Beautiful photos!

  8. Looks fantastic!And your war horse is a cracker.

  9. An American in Tokyo4/30/17, 6:16 PM

    So beautiful! It must feel much different when you are right there, in the middle of it all!

  10. love all the colors! looks like there's so much going on..seems very exciting! pretty necklace. :)