It’s Official! New Location for Gathering of Nations Announced!

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 5th, 2016 Last Updated on: June 5th, 2016


As they say, on to bigger and better things?

After being blindsided by the University of New Mexico, the founders of North America's largest pow wow had to find a new venue for their event. Tough decisions had to be made. Would the Gathering of Nations pow wow stay in Albuquerque or move to a new city? New state? Many people threw out great suggestions on where it might be able to move to but in the end everyone felt the best thing to do was remain in Albuquerque!

Read the official press release below:

Albuquerque, NM — Today, Governor Susana Martinez and Gathering of Nations Founder Derek Mathews announced an agreement to ensure that North America’s largest powwow remains in New Mexico for years to come. With the agreement, the Gathering of Nations will be held at Tingley Coliseum and the New Mexico State Fairgrounds for the next four years, with an option for an additional four years. EXPO New Mexico General Manager Dan Mourning, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry, and the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce joined Governor Martinez and Mr. Mathews for the announcement.

“I’m proud to announce that the Gathering of Nations isn’t going anywhere – it’s staying right here in Albuquerque,” Governor Martinez said. “I’m pleased that our state will continue to host this event, which will now have its home at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. The Gathering of Nations is part of what it means to be New Mexico True, and I’m grateful that we will continue to showcase the best our state has to offer – both to the rest of the country and the world.”

The 34th Annual Gathering of Nations will be held at Tingley Coliseum and the New Mexico State Fairgrounds from April 27 to 29, 2017.

“The Gathering of Nations is very excited to hold its 2017 event at EXPO New Mexico,” said Derek Mathews, founder of the Gathering of Nations. “I want to thank Governor Martinez, Mayor Berry, the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and EXPO New Mexico for helping to keep the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque. I want to especially thank the huge outpouring of support from our city, state, Indian Country, and around the world. This level of support and confidence gave the Gathering of Nations a refreshing and creative opportunity to find a new home. Tingley Coliseum and EXPO New Mexico will provide upgraded amenities, and a friendly and welcoming environment to host our participants and guests attending the world’s largest powwow. The expansive space of EXPO New Mexico will give the Gathering of Nations the opportunity to also expand the size of the event to accommodate an increased amount of artisans and traders, music groups, and food vendors in years to come.”

The Gathering of Nations hosts tens of thousands of people and more than 700 tribes from throughout the United States, Canada, and around the world each year. The three-day event includes more than 3,000 traditional Native American singers and dancers competing for prizes, more than 800 Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders displaying and selling their work, as well as over 30 contemporary indigenous music groups performing on Stage 49. Food vendors in the Native Food Court offer guests a large selection of food choices ranging between southwestern-style cuisine and traditional Native American fare. During the powwow, a young Native American woman is crowned Miss Indian World and presents all native and indigenous people as a cultural goodwill ambassador. For news, updates and powwow information, please visit www.gatheringofnations.com.

“In working with the Mathews family over the last several weeks, it has been our privilege to forge a partnership to provide exceptional facilities which meet the needs of this incredible, culturally significant event. As the only true multi-purpose events center in the state, whose mission is deeply rooted in New Mexico’s unique history and diversity of people, we provide the perfect canvas for the Gathering of Nations to build on an already first class event,” added EXPO New Mexico General Manager Dan Mourning.

“Gathering of Nations is an incredibly important event for Albuquerque, both culturally and economically. It brings together diverse communities from around the world to celebrate Native American and indigenous cultures. We are fortunate that the Mathews family has chosen to make Albuquerque home to the event,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. “Today’s announcement is very exciting. I am thrilled to have worked with the Mathews family and the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce to facilitate a long-term plan to keep the Gathering of Nations event right here in Albuquerque.”

“It’s a new day,” said President and CEO of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce Alex O. Romero. “This change brings about tremendous opportunities as the event is positioned to be even greater and more inclusive of our local community; this is indeed an exciting time.”


Photo Left to Right: Chairman of the New Mexico State Fair Commission, Larry Kennedy; President and CEO of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber, Alex. O Romero; Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry; New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez; Expo New Mexico General Manager, Dan Mourning; founder and director of the Gathering of Nations, Derek Mathews (speaker); Gathering of Nations organizer, Dr. Lita Mathews; Miss Indian World Pageant coordinator with the Gathering of Nations, Melonie Matthews; State Representative James Roger Magdalena; New Mexico Tourism Department, Secretary Rebecca Lanthom; Vice President of Convention and Tourism of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber, Ernie C’deBaca.

Whew! I had such a great time visiting Albuquerque again, I would hate for it to move elsewhere. What do you guys think of the new location?

Home » Native American Articles » Pow Wow » It's Official! New Location for Gathering of Nations Announced!

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Myrna Espinoza

In one if the articles I read the Gathering will be held at the Powwow grounds by Tingley Coliseum. Does this mean this is going to be an outside event or inside event??

Paul G

It will be inside.

Robert Gale

Shame on Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico. Events like this not only help define New Mexico but symbolize the diversity of our state. Surely we could find the extra money to allow THE GATHERING to remain at THE PIT. Did UNM forget its land grant status and its commitment to all of its New Mexican residents?

Paul Colley - UK

We travelled from he UK to New Mexico specifically for this event in 2014 and stands out in my family’s mind as the best thing we have ever seen. A great deal for the short term to stay where it is but there should be plans in the longer term to establish a native owned venue for these events and similar to generate income and support the Native American community. Criminal that you should have to buy your own land back but we are where we are!

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