Gathering of Nations Recap – Pow Wow Life 60

Gathering of Nations Recap – Pow Wow Life 60

Join Paul G for a recap of the 2022 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow – North America's Largest Pow Wow!

Paul returned to Albuquerque for the first time since 2019.  

Watch the replay of Gathering of Nation Pow Wow, Stage 49, and more!

Gathering of Nations is the largest Pow Wow in North America. It runs from April 28-30, 2022 (Thursday – Saturday).

The Miss Indian World Talent Presentations is held at the Kiva Auditorium located at the Albuquerque Convention Center (Downtown Albuquerque) that kicks off Thursday evening; where young Native American Women represent their Native American and Indigenous people as cultural goodwill ambassadors. A Young Native American Woman will be crowned Miss Indian World, Saturday, April 27 after the Evening Grand Entry in Tingley Coliseum/EXPO NM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

The GON experience is for all people (Indian and Non-Indian) to come to see colorful Native American Pow Wow dancing, to hear the songs and become enlightened with emotional happiness! This will take place inside Tingley Coliseum and the other activities will be on the Powwow Grounds at Expo NM (NM State fairgrounds).

Over 3,000+ indigenous/Native American/Indian dancers and singers representing more than 500+ tribes from Canada and the United States come to the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow annually to participate socially and competitively. Included with the price of a Gathering of Nations Pow Wow Admission are the Indian Traders Market and Stage 49.



PODCAST INTRO: Welcome to Pow Wow Life podcast from, connecting you as a native culture since 1996. Here's your host, Paul Gowder.

Paul Gowder: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Pow Wow Life Podcast. I'm Paul Gowder, the founder of Thank you so much for being with me again this week. On today's show, I want to give you a recap of my weekend in Albuquerque at the 2022 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, North America's largest Pow Wow. Let's talk all about what happened. So good to finally be back in Albuquerque, first time since 2019. But first, I want to talk about a couple of announcements and give you a little bit more information and some things going on Make sure you stay tuned at the end of the episode, I'll give you this week's trivia question where you can win a prize pack of stickers. So stay tuned for that. I want to say a special thank you to our Patreon, those the folks that are the booster club of I like to call them and you can join them over at Thank you so much to all of you who have joined our Patreon, it really makes a difference here at It's helping us to do podcasts like this to send more people out for live streams, to hire some more writers and really produce great content for you. So thank you, we're doing some really fun things with our Patreon. And I hope you'll join us. Every month we're doing a zoom call where we all get online and talk and get to know each other. Some people bring questions and want to you know, discuss different things and that's cool, or if you just want to come and hang out and meet me and the other Patreon, you can do that too. So we're in fact, this month, Zoom calls actually going to be later today. Looking forward to seeing some of the folks again. Also, certain levels of the Patreon get exclusive gifts each month that aren't available for sale anywhere else this month gifts. This month's gift is a special Pow Wow Life magnet that we had made just for our Patreon. So if you're interested in joining that and being part of this community, I would love to see you join, go check it out You can join for as little as $2 a month. Also want to make sure everybody knows that Pow Wows are back all across the country and in Canada. So check our calendar often for the latest events. We are adding new events every day and updating things that have been already been posted. So lots of information changing and being added all the time, will get you there. We list Pow Wows in all 50 states and most Canadian provinces. In normal years we list anywhere from 1100 to 1200 Different powwows all across North America is Paul's are still coming back so we don't have that many listed yet for 2022, but there are hundreds of them already listed and more being posted all the time. So find a Pow Wow near you All right, now let's talk about the 2022 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow.

Again this year, like we've done for many, many years except those two COVID years where we did virtual things, but again, this year, we worked with Gathering of Nations and streamed the entire powwow and stage 49 live, hope you were able to watch that. But if you weren't, and if you want to see any of our coverage, including the photos and the videos and articles we did, first stop is Go check that out. And now we'll catch you up on all the things that happened during gathering nations, and make sure you stay tuned to our YouTube channel, we'll be taking all of the videos we recorded and producing them in smaller clips, each dance contest will have its own video those will be coming to the website soon. So look for that in the coming weeks. But thank you, if you did watch our live stream or participated in any of the coverage over the weekend, our social media reach for the weekend was over 2.7 million people. Let that sink in for a minute, 2.7 million people saw some part of our Gathering Nation's coverage. Just incredible that we had that kind of reach out there on social media. So thanks, if you were one of the people that tuned in, liked, comment shared or whatever, we really appreciate that. So this was the first time we were able to go back in person since 2019. And 2019, I was able to take my daughter, it was her first time going to gathering and wanted to really have her experience that she was at the time, I guess, a freshman or sophomore in high school. And I knew that as time went on, it was going to be more difficult for her to be able to get away for that amount of time. And so took her out there to set the stage of how long ago 2019 really was the weekend we went out there we went a couple days early. And we went and actually saw the premiere of Marvel's Endgame. So it was that long ago that we were there for the opening day of endgame. So after all this time, I finally was able to head back and be in Albuquerque, again in person. So first thing I want to say is, it was so good to be back in a place we've been so many times and for so long. The first time I ever went to gather Nations was in 2004, which is actually the year my daughter was born. So it was so good just to be back in that environment. Seeing old friends and getting to hug people and sit down and talk to them face to face was incredible. You know, these are people that of course, I've talked to over zoom and phone calls and FaceTime or whatever, through the last couple years. But it's so different to be able to sit face to face, and really talk and, you know, get to get to see each other in it. Zoom was great. And all of those technologies are great, but doesn't replace that face to face meeting. So that was probably the highlight to me of the entire weekend and it was interesting.

As we talk, as I talk to people throughout the weekend, you know, most of the people that are on Head Staff and work behind the scenes back there where we are, you know, these folks have been working with Gathering of Nations for years and years, like I have. And so we've done all this before, but everybody I talked to you said it was all familiar, but it all felt somewhat new to because it had been so long since we had done this. So that you know heard stories throughout the weekend of people got everybody, you know, saying things like, Oh, everybody forgot how to do this, or I'm having to remind people to do this, or, gosh, I forgot how to do this and that and now I'm having to rethink it. So it was really interesting to see, you know, it maybe took a little while for our muscle memory to kick in and remember how to do it. Michael Gabbard, what helped me with the live stream this weekend, and we both said the same thing is like, I gotta you know, we're setting up the equipment. We're trying to remember how everything goes and, and how to work it. There were times when we forgot to switch to different things. And yeah, it was really a matter of getting back in that habit. And I definitely am out of practice with those long days, because, you know, used to be gatherings long. It's always been long and we go late into the night. But at some point when you've done these several times a year you're you know, getting there at eight o'clock in the morning and doing the live stream until two o'clock in the morning. It's tiring, but you get through it. This time, man by 10 o'clock every night, I was feeling it. So it's gonna take me a little while to get back into that kind of Pow Wow shape I guess. But we got through it and gallery ran pretty overall pretty smooth this year even with people trying to relearn things.

So in one of the reasons that ran smoother was I think there were a few less dancers than normal. We did notice that like during grand entry, there were some spaces out on the dance floor that we didn't normally see. And I'm sure that's attributed to lots of factors. I know there's so many people that are worried about travel. There's so many people that it may be under travel restrictions, and the economy is not great and gas prices are horrible. And I do know that at least two people on had staff had family issues and deaths in the family weren't able to make it for that. So the dancer was, it was a little smaller. So some of the categories didn't have as many heats as they normally do. So some of that ran a little quicker than normal. Now, as far as the crowd goes, the spectators I think it was just as big if not bigger than 2019, the crowds seemed fantastic. The vendors out in the Indian traders market, it was packed and the buildings were full all the time. And I got to see some of the, you know, they were incredible vendors out there, Steven Paul Judd was out there, with his skateboards and his art that was really cool to see a big name like that there. And there were some other really amazing crafts and arts and jewelry out there. So the quality of that, and the number of them were on par with any other year of gathering.

There were several specials throughout the weekend that were really notable. First, if you had been following anything on social media, you know that Fawn and Dallas had been doing their virtual round dances for the last few years. And that was their way of keeping the round dance traditions and the round dance songs, going and really making sure that everybody stayed connected to that part of the culture with their virtual round dances. And over the course of the last couple of years, they've had some amazing guests come on, and do different performances and sing songs. And they've been able to feature a lot of talented people across Indian country. So one morning at the Pow Wow, they actually held a round dance special and had some of those people that have been on their virtual round dance come and perform in person. So that was really, really cool to see. That was one of the really notable things of the weekend. The Fancy Dance special was probably the best special the weekend and I can't wait for those videos to hit online and hit our YouTube channel. So look for those. I missed some of it but was able to go back and watch some of the replays. I had gone to get lunch and didn't realize it was going and I could hear the crowd outside and I came back and I'm like Michael, what in the world just happened. It's like well, you just missed the best part of the whole Pow Wow. But I didn't get to see some of it. And they were, the finalists were all spotlighted and danced individually and those boys brought their best stuff. So make sure you watch that and look for that it was we put the individual clips of that up online soon.

In 2019, the Gathering of Nations crowned Cheyenne Kippenberger from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Miss Indian world. And Cheyenne had an incredible year in 2019, and the beginning of 2020. She traveled all over and was a great ambassador for Indian country and for gathering. And then everything shut down Gather of Nations was if you didn't follow what was going on back then, because you so much was going on. But gathering was in the midst of planning their Pow Wow. And in March, just a few weeks before gathering was to take place and Cheyenne was to come and give up her crown. The governor of the state of New Mexico declared the Gathering of Nations was closed without talking to the staff of gathering or any kind of communications just declared that the Gathering of Nations was canceled. So it left the folks of gathering really struggling with what to do not just with their Pow Wow, but what did they do with Cheyenne. So they talked with her and she decided in with their cooperation that she would stay on for another year as Miss Indian world. And what she had done previously as an ambassador, she even took up another notch in the virtual world and was able to connect with really 1000s of people during that time. And was just an amazing, amazing ambassador for herself for the Seminole tribe, and for gathering. So, and I gotten to work with her a couple of times we've been able to interview her. And she was just one of the highlights for especially for gathering during this dark time of COVID.

So we all knew that and she ended up giving up her title gathering and her talked about it and since it went on another year, she did give up the title on the virtual Pow Wow in 2021. So from 2021 to 2022, gathering did not have a Miss Indian world. So there was a lot of anticipation of who the next Miss Indian world would be. And you know, could that woman fill that void, and those big shoes that Cheyenne had left? So now we come to the 2020 to gather nations and who would be crowned the new Miss Indian world? So Miss Indian world takes place over several days. I think they show up in Albuquerque on Tuesday. And there are interviews Thursday night is the traditional talent presentation, where the women present is some type of talent that is traditional to their people. And that those presentations if you haven't been before, that is definitely a highlight of the weekend and a must see you really should attend that. That is really awesome to see. And then Friday, they have to do public speaking on stage 49. And then they also participate in a Pow Wow dance contest and they are asked to dance in their traditional way to Pow Wow songs, doesn't work for free for all tribes, but they do the best they can. And then on Saturday evening, the new Miss Indian world is crowned. The young lady that was crowned this year. Well, let me let me let her speak for herself. Here's an interview with the New Miss Indian world conducted by our own Larry Yasi.

Larry: Hello, everybody, how's everybody doing out there in the world? We're here live at the Gathering of Nation's Pow Wow here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And I'm gonna let her introduce herself. So tell me your name and your thoughts of winning the title of Miss Indian world?
Cheyenne Kippenberger: [Foreign Language 16:51 – 17:00]. Hi, my relatives. My name is Cheyenne Kippenberger. My last name is [Foreign Language 17:03], which means honors that day a woman. I'd like to say that I'm honored and very humbled for this opportunity to carry this Miss Indian world title for this following year. I believe this title is one of the most prestigious titles for Indigenous women. And I'm excited for the platform to share my opinion on to strengthening cultural identity and igniting cultural pride back into our youth.
Larry: Moving forward now, what is your mission? What is your goal for from now to next year to give up your title?
Cheyenne Kippenberger: Yeah, so from now till next year, I plan on traveling communities to communities, going to presentations going to Pow Wows seeing my smiling native people, and really igniting pride and happiness and strengthening our [Foreign Language 17:53] our compassion in the world. Because after this crazy pandemic, our compassion and our happiness is exactly what our indigenous nations need after such tragic time.
Larry: Awesome. I also understand you, you took part in the horse parade? Is that right?
Cheyenne Kippenberger: Yes.
Larry: Can you tell us a bit about that? That experience and I visited with their dad a little bit so he told me a beautiful story about your horses.
Cheyenne Kippenberger: Yeah, so my horse's name is [Foreign Language 18:21]. And in our Lakota language, that's a [Foreign Language 18:24] warrior society. I was here on the previous Gathering of Nations, which was in 2019. And we were honored to bring our horses up, we decided up maybe four days before the contest that we were going to attend. And we were honored to have one of that year. In fact, I won Best of Show that brought us back this year. Everybody got us riled up and said you gotta go defend your title. And as Lakota people, that's exactly what we did. I added more adornments to my horse came back. Luckily, he had that same energy as me, and we were able to defend those titles.
Larry: Wow, look at this beautiful smile. This beautiful person's beautiful spirit. You know, what is your experience here and just beautiful talent Albuquerque, Mexico?
Cheyenne Kippenberger: It is amazing. Seeing all of these brown and shiny faces really, all my native nations that are here. I feel so happy. It makes my spirit and my heart feel really good to finally see our smiles again. I've been on a lot of zoom calls. Forgot how tall or short people are. And being in New Mexico specifically. The food is amazing.
Larry: Red or green chili?
Cheyenne Kippenberger: Green on chicken.
Larry: Green Chili, I agree too.
Cheyenne Kippenberger: Yes, very much.
Larry: Do you have any last words for the people out there world?
Cheyenne Kippenberger: Yes, I would like to say look [Foreign Language 19:46 – 19:49] I'm very proud of the Lakota way of life I live, and I want to share that with you all because you all should be very proud of the native life that you live and let that cultural pride strengthen you and drive you know that you represent all the ancestors before you and they're all standing with you so that anything you put your mind to you can accomplish, and it's time and there's no better time to be proud of yourself to be indigenous and proud of your culture and be truly who you all are [Foreign Language 20:18 – 20:19]. Thank you very much.
Larry: What a beautiful ambassador for indigenous people, our Native American people. My name is Larry, back to you

Paul Gowder: That young lady is 18 years old, I was able to spend a little bit of time talking with her parents, as they sat back behind us during some of the Pow Wow after she was crowned. She is going to be a great Miss Indian world I cannot wait to see what she's going to do over the next year. Talking to her parents, she used to hearing a little bit more about her background, she plays more than 10 musical instruments. And as you heard, she's really active with some of the horse things in and was able to compete twice a gathering nations and win twice in the horse parade. So I think gatherings got themselves another fantastic Miss Indian world, and it's going to be a great year for her.

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I hope that gave you a little bit of a recap of how the weekend was at gathering nations. I do now want to answer a couple of emails and comments that I continue to get. And just discuss some of those things. So a lot of people write in, whether its emails to me, or on social media in other places, some complaints about gathering nations, things like gatherings too commercial, the ticket prices are too expensive, the food is way overpriced. I even had somebody write me this year and say that they can't believe that all of the hotel rooms are so expensive the weekend of gathering. So I do want to respond to some of that. And first of all, Gathering of Nations is different than any other Pow Wow. The Matthews family who started gathering and continue to run it, their focus with gathering and getting to work with them over the years, their mindset and the way they think is they want this to be the biggest event in Indian country. They don't want it to be like any other Pow Wow they want it to be a big showcase and spectacle. And I think that's really awesome. It's needed. There are 100s and 1000s of houses that people can go to and experience with traditional Pw Wow or contest Pow Wow or whatever. But having that one place that is above and over the top of with everything is really good for Indian country. As I said in the beginning 2.7 million people saw some part of our coverage on social media. We stream a lot of Pow Wows, no one else gets even close to that. So to be able to highlight the culture to that many people, it is awesome. The ripple effects of that of having people seeing it, you know, it's going out to people who may not have ever seen any culture, their only thought of native people may be something from the history books, they are now seeing contemporary modern culture alive and in its best forms.

There are people that may now go and go to other events, or they may just have it in the back of the heads that native culture and native people are still alive and they're still present. That matters a lot when it comes to other issues, like the missing and murdered indigenous women issues, we are able to now highlight all of those things because we've raised the awareness and raised the level of the number of eyes on the culture. So gathering, for me, that is one of the most important things is that it does bring eyeballs and people outside of the traditional Pow Wow world to see the culture and that's really, really important. But it's also important to the Pow Wow dancers and the singers, it is a place for them to showcase their talents, and their dancing water and the rest of it in a place that they don't get to highlight in this way. So that's really important too. You know, a lot of people joke and I hear people say this all the time is that gathering is the Super Bowl of Pow Wows. And you know, there's a place for that. And there's also a place for the other Pow Wows, like I said, so that's my first response. Now, as far as the prices, if anybody has been to let's take an NFL game, or been to an amusement park, or been to some kind of festival or event in your town, especially one of big size, you know, that once you get inside those gates, everything is going to be more expensive. Once you're inside a walled community, you know, a festival event, a sporting event, whatever, even a movie theater, you know, they have you captive and the prices are going to be higher. That's just the way the economics of big events work. Now, Gathering of Nations doesn't control all the prices for all the food vendors, you know, some of these, whether it's, you know, a sporting event, or other things, maybe they do, but not a gathering, gathering, you know, lets the vendors do their own thing. But it is a big event, and so vendors are looking to make money and their prices are probably going to be higher than at your local Pow Wow. But that's to be expected. That's how economies work. As for the hotels in the area, go try to book a hotel with where any big festival is taking place, or go try to book a hotel in the city where the Super Bowl is hosted, and tell me that the prices aren't considerably higher than they were the week before. Here in South Carolina, we're close enough that we know about the economics of what happens in Augusta and Aiken during the masters. People are able to leave their homes and rented out for just the week of the masters and pay for their mortgage for the whole year, that's just the economics of big events and it's supply and demand. When 100,000 People come to Albuquerque, the number of rooms that are available go down. So the prices of those available are going to go up that's just how it works. It's not gatherings fault. Gathering, of course is causing that many people to come. So indirectly, they are causing it but they are not the one setting the price for the hotel rooms. It's unfortunate that prices do go up, but that's just the nature of having a big event like this.

I also get a lot of emails and comments that gathering is making millions and really profiting off native culture and native people. Now, I've worked with gathering for a number of years. I have, I do not know their budget. I do not know all the backend stuff. I can only tell you what I've seen. And what I've seen is they do the best possible job to present and produce the most amazing event they can and they hire the best people. So I don't know if they're making tons of money but my guess is they're not. These kinds of events are incredibly expensive. The scale of what they're doing is massive. And I can't eat, I can only imagine what they're looking at as far as financial obligations. So you know, again, I don't know all their numbers. But I do not think that these folks are making millions on the backs of these Pow Wow folks. Now, if they're making a living off of it, that's great. If they're putting in the work, and they deserve to get paid, I don't think it is to the level that people online want you to believe. I've even had people on, you know, think that is a million dollar business. And they even go and found a place that shows what the projected revenue of was, and that got posted, people posted pictures of that website, the websites showed that the projected revenue of was less than $5 million. So people posted online and didn't read the less than symbol correctly. And there were headlines and people sharing things that was a $5 million business. Don't I wish we'd be having a whole different podcast if that was the issue? So while things on the outside may look bigger than they are, I don't think that the revenues have Gather of Nations nor, or what people think. But I will say again, Gather of Nations has its place. It may not be for everybody. It's big, it's crowded. It's different than other powwows. It's something I think all Pow Wow people and people that are really wanting to see Pow Wow dancing and singing in person should go to at least once. I'm going to keep going back whether I'm working with them or not, because it is an incredible place that really highlights Pow Wow culture in a unique way. So it is something I recommend that you get to, but it's not for everybody. And maybe you don't want to go back every year there. You know, my family, we go to Disney World all the time. And we know that there are lots of people who don't want to be in big crowds and don't want to wait in line. And that's okay. Maybe you're the kind of person that just wants to go and sit on the beach for your vacation and just relax, that's cool. Gathering of Nations is not your local Pow Wow, you're not going to kick back and just sit back and watch Dancing in a relaxed way all weekend. I love going to local Pow Wows and being able to kick back in lawn chair with friends and enjoy it, you know, a meal by the camper and just have a really relaxing weekend, that's not what gathering of nations is. So it may not be for everybody. But there's a place for it. And what they're doing for any country and highlighting the culture is needed and is really, really incredible. Okay, so that's my recap of the weekend of Gathering of Nations. Don't forget to go and follow all of what we have about the 22 gathering nations at and continue to look for the videos that we're going to be putting out over the next few weeks of all the dance styles and all the singing that happened that weekend.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Pow Wow Life podcast. I really appreciate you being here. Don't forget to subscribe, whether it's on Spotify or Apple or any other podcasting app. That way you'll be sure to get all of the latest episodes when they drop. If you're listening on Facebook, Facebook's going to continue their support of podcast. So please be sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify or somewhere other than Facebook so you'll continue to get the podcast. Now as promised, here's this week's trivia question.

Question: This year, President Biden made May 5th a national day of what. He made a proclamation May 5th will now be what? For the Forever may 5th is now going to be a special date to highlight something. Tell me what that is?

Head over to and put in the form there, your answer. And I'll draw one correct entry from, one entry from all the correct answers to win a prize pack of stickers. So you haven't told next week's episode to drop to enter to win that. My name is Paul Gowder, and I'm the founder of And I am so appreciative of your support of over the last 25 years. The best is yet to come for us and the community. So thanks for being here. And I'll see you soon.

PODCAST OUTRO: Thanks for listening to the Pow Wow Life podcast from Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get notified of our next episode. Find a Pow Wow near you by visiting, support by visiting

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Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Paul G

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

2 Comments on “Gathering of Nations Recap – Pow Wow Life 60”

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    This bonus code doesn’t seem to work. Bonus Code – 588697

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      Paul G


      Thanks for entering the contest.

      Bonus codes will be posted in several places, you have to keep an eye out for them. These will include newsletters, live streams, select articles and other places.

      To enter the code visit the entry form here:

      After you enter your name and email, look for “Bonus Entry Codes”.

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