ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Droves of Native American and other indigenous performers and spectators have converged in New Mexico for the 32nd annual Gathering of Nations, North America's largest powwow. Here are some things to know about the festival:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Droves of Native American and other indigenous performers and spectators have converged in New Mexico for the 32nd annual Gathering of Nations, North America's largest powwow. Here are some things to know about the festival:
FROM FAR AND WIDE
More than 3,000 dancers, drummers and singers representing some 700 tribes from the United States and Canada typically attend the three-day event in Albuquerque. The competitions also draw tens of thousands of spectators from around the world.
This year's celebration started Thursday.
Dancers don traditional costumes with colorful beads, feathers, fringed leather and bells. Creating a thunderous, rhythmic roar, their pounding feet keep time with beating drums as they funnel into the bottom of the University of New Mexico arena, better known as The Pit.
The mass of dancers twists toward the center of the arena, the formation getting tighter with each pass until the floor is packed. The grand entry takes place Friday and can last close to an hour.
MISS INDIAN WORLD
Twenty-one women are competing this year for the crown of Miss Indian World. The competition is one of the largest and most prestigious cultural pageants for young Native women.
They're judged on public speaking, dance, traditional presentations and more.
Current Miss Indian World Taylor Thomas will pass on the crown to this year's winner Saturday. The winner will spend the next year traveling internationally, serving as a role model and cultural ambassador.
This year's powwow was preceded by a special gathering to kick off a White House initiative called Generation-Indigenous, or Gen-I.
About 300 Native youth from across the country met Thursday to discuss individual community projects aimed at tackling some of the challenges faced by American Indian and Alaska Native teens, from high suicide rates to low graduation rates.
Some of the teens will reconvene this summer in Washington, D.C.
EATS AND ARTS
Like any good gathering, there's food, music and vendors.
At the Indian Traders Market, more than 800 artisans and crafters show off their wares. On Stage 49 near the arena, Native American musicians perform a range of genres, including country, reggae, rap and rhythm and blues.
Organizers expect anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 visitors, providing a boost to Albuquerque's hospitality industry.
According to a recent study by the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the Gathering of Nations has had an average annual economic impact of about $21 million over the past five years.