Inez Jasper
"The Pit" was crowded at Gathering of Nations, 2014

The 31st Gathering of Nations Ends With a Bang!

Christina Rose

The Gathering of Nations Pow Wow has wrapped up its 31st event with a bang!  With comedians, hip hop artists, traditional singers and dancers, and more drums than anyone could count, an estimated 3,000 people, some from all over the world, attended this year’s festivities. Taylor Thomas, Shoshone-Bannock, from Pocatello, Idaho,  was crowned the 2014 Miss Indian World on Saturday night.

Announcer Larry Yazzie, roving emcee, told ICTMN that the crowd this year was as big and enthusiastic as ever. “It was a mild 80 degrees, and there was no breeze but a lot of spirit!” Yazzie exclaimed.  “You know, despite the economy, I never seen this Gathering of Nations decline.  If anything, it’s gotten stronger.  Indians love to dance no matter the weather, the economy, even the physical condition of the individual.  This is a time of healing, of bringing out the good medicine to show people we are here, alive and strong,” Yazzie said.

At Friday night’s Grand Entry, there were about 1,500 dancers but Saturday was when an enormous crowd really turned out. Ernie Tsosie, comedian, actor,  and motivational speaker of 49 Laughs, was on hand to warm up the crowd by throwing out one-liners.

Taylor Thomas, Shoshone-Bannock, Pocatello, Idaho, smiles with the crowd after accepting the title of 2014 Miss Indian World. ( Paul Gowder,

Tsosie said that whenever he meets people, “The number one question I get, is ‘Do you have a joke?’” he laughed. “What do ya call a blushing rez girl?  Chey--enne!” Tsosie smiled.  “What do you call an Indian at the zoo?  A Zuni!” he continued, getting warmed up.  “What do you get when you cross a rez dog and Dalmatian?  A reservation!” which brought a big laugh.

This was 49 Laughs’ third time performing at Gathering of Nations. Tsosie said the group of comedians had just come from a  casino gig in Tucson. “There’s five of us;  four guys and one gal, Pax Harvey, James Junes, Adrianne Chalepah,  and usually Tatanka Means, but he didn’t make it here this time.”

Inez Jasper, hip hop/pop singer, said this was her first visit to Gathering of Nations, and she was so excited to be there.  “I have heard so many good things about this. People drive here or fly here,  and there is so much going on! It’s not only the pow wow, there’s the art market, too. It’s so busy, it’s solid people!  At the hotels, there are no cancellations, people are looking to crash with friends and scrambling to find a place to stay.”


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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
I have been to GON for many years, but have missed the last three or so. I attend around noon and enjoy seeing and learning from the many vendors where you can find Apache music to Zuni jewelry. I do leave before 5 PM to avoid being crammed. I do have one concern from watching online streaming this year. I feel that there needs to be greater respect exhibited on and around the dance arena. I saw one of the judges in shorts and many others wearing the same as they criss cross the floor. Can we exhibit greater respect for the songs and drumming, whether handed down or newly created, and dances which in many cases are for healing purposes or based upon a highly significant occurrence. We gather to honor, celebrate, and share with one another. Lead by example and make the public aware of our great regard for the area where our hear beat is. Ah-ho! Great job and many congratulations to those who helped make GON 2014 a safe and successful event.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm ashamed to say that although I live a scant 200 miles south of Albuquerque, I've NEVER attended the GON. I work in the public schools in Las Cruces, New Mexico and this is too near the end of the school year to take time off from work. Maybe when I'm 80 I'll retire and get a chance to go up for the one event I've ALWAYS wanted to attend.