Photo By Nedra Joe

Gallup, NM ceremonial

By Nedra Joe

The Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial takes place each either the first or second week of August, each year. It features a parade, arts festival, powwow, pageant, gourd dancing, traditional dancing exhibits, and a rodeo. People come from all corner of the globe to watch this celebration of Native American heritage and culture during the beginning of August. Artisans feature handmade items from jewelry, Navajo rugs, pueblo pottery, paintings, basketry, and sculpture. The powwow brings tribes from Canada, Mexico, and all across the United States. A contest powwow is rich in diverse tribal songs, dances and contest between drum groups and different dance categories. One young lady is selected to represent the Gallup Ceremonial organization as their queen and ambassador. There have been over 50 different tribes who have young ladies vie for the title of Miss Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial queen in the past decades. Each year dozens of gourd dances participate in the gourd dance which is an event that honors warriors from the different military armed forces and those who are part of warrior societies in tribes from across the North continent. During the final weekend, cultural dances and traditional dances from dozens of tribes are showcased and celebrated. Visitors can expect to see Apache crown dancers, pueblo pottery dancers, Aztec dancers, powwow dancers, Navajo basket dancers, and even Zuni maiden dancers that feature a buffalo dancer in his white fur buffalo head and regalia. The rodeo event brings contestants from Canada and rodeo athletes from all regions of the U.S. Events like tie-down roping, team roping, barrel racing, break away roping, saddle bronc riding, bull-riding, and bareback riding are the different events rodeo athletes compete in to win cash, saddles, and a horse trailer to the All-Around Cowboy. Visitors may attend all events and etiquette at the traditional dances is to respectfully watch, do not touch regalia or the dancers, and ask permission to take photos. The rule of most public events is to be respectful and if in doubt, ask a Ceremonial official for guidance. A parade takes place the Thursday before the Ceremonial.

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