Gathering of Nations Too Expensive, Too Crowded…But…

Gathering of Nations Too Expensive, Too Crowded…But…

For the past 3 years I've been fortunate enough to host Stage 49 at the Gathering of Nations Powwow as a Dragqueen performer.  I can't think of any other Powwow in the United States or Canada that would a welcome a Two Spirit performer into their at-large Powwow community.

So for the #GON powwow committee to take a risk on bringing me in, it was a huge gamble that paid off in a big way.  For me, it not only validated the changing world we live, but this event also offered space back to its neglected and under represented community members, the Two Spirits.  Not to mention the wonderful reception I received from all the visitors attending the #GONpowwow, just thinking back to all the wonderful moments I had at the powwow fills my heart with joy.

Over the years, people keep talking negatively about the Gathering of Nations Powwow

  • Too expensive
  • Too Crowded
  • Run by non-natives
  • People hog seats by putting down blankets
  • The contests are rigged
  • The Indian Tacos cost $12
  • And so on …

But yet, every year that powwow keeps getting bigger and bigger, attracting more audience from all over.

A big reason why the Gathering of Nations Powwow is such a big draw is because they do things other powwows don’t, for instance, this past year they brought in a major recording star – Judith Hill , to entertain their audience before the afternoon Grand Entry, another year the powwow emcee’s took a minute to incorporate the Harlem Shake into their festivities!

Who remembers the year when Oklahoma rappers Mike Bone performed on the arena floor!

How about when actress Natalie Portman made a special appearance!

Natalie Portman at Gathering of Nations

Then did anyone notice the Dragqueen that danced in Grand Entry with her balloons? <— when does that ever happen, uh.. never.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 1.33.32 AM

A new era has arrived in Indian Country and its that of tolerance, all of our community members are coming back into the circle.

#nativepride #twospiritpride


Charlie Ballard

p.s. and don’t forget to visit the #GONpowwow in their new space next year, the Expo Center aka Tingley Coliseum, which promises to accommodate their ever growing crowds.

The Gathering of Nations Powwow is must on everyone's bucket list.

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Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Paul G

One Comment “Gathering of Nations Too Expensive, Too Crowded…But…”

  • Avatar for Matthew Kellor

    I am Yankton Sioux and a tribal member. I sort of agree but recently i worked at the Windcreek Wetumpka Casino here in Alabama. What a covered wagon wreck! 92% of the employees are black or white! I tried to see things their way, but i was outnumbered and unhappy. The price of food should be controlled by the Board. I.e= $6.50/ indian tacos, $2/drinks. The rest is up to the vendor’s. But be crowd pleasers too. Rent space and cost of event is up to us. Maybe we should build our own building- arena? Its our land. Get power generators to supply power. It is meant for enjoyment and community. Not profit$$$$.

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