Heard On The Street: The Gathering Of Nations

Hear reflections from those who attended the 2009 Gathering of Nations, which is the largest Native American Pow-wow in North America. This year's event was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The sounds were collected by Sarah Gustavus of NPR member station KUNM-FM.

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MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And we close our program today with a segment we called Heard On The Street. That's where our producers and reporters bring back interesting sounds and voices they've heard while they're out and about. Today, we go back to the Gathering of Nations, the largest Powwow in North America. It was held this past weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Last Friday, we visited with several people who helped to run the event. Today we share with you thoughts from some of the people who attended.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUMBEATS)

ANGELINA SOSA: Hi I'm Angelina Sosa(ph). I'm a member of the (unintelligible) tribe in Washington state. I'm just hoping to see people, like, to be proud of who they are, to show them that, like, I'm proud to be this and this is who I am. Nobody can change it.

BRUCE IRONCLOUD: I'm Bruce Iron Cloud, member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. I (unintelligible) and I make the outfits for the dancers. Well, it gives me good feeling because it still makes me believe that all the tribes are hanging on to what they were taught. The thought and what they put into the designs and everything has still been handed down from generations, from family to family. So, you could still see that. And that's what gets me excited to know that all these different tribes that we traveled to see, they're still hanging onto their identity, which is a very, very good thing.

MERE NELSON: Mere Nelson(ph), Navaho. Well, my brother used to be a powwow dancer and a singer. And he passed away like 10 years ago. So, you know, I feel like, you know, every year I come here my brother is always here. So, you know, that's why I come every year, you know. I live in Flagstaff and, you know, I'm surrounded by, you know, all different types of people. And to be here and be among my peoples, now that's what I come to see, hang out with my people.

RICK VOLOMI: My name is Rick Volomi(ph).

Unidentified Woman: Are you a member of a tribe or pueblo yourself?

VOLOMI: No, I'm not. I'm here with a group from Vancouver, British Columbia, and we come down every year, then we do an exchange with a high school in Monument Valley. So, it broadens that kind of knowledge of their own culture and where they fit in. And I think just traveling and meeting people and the exchange we do with the Navajo is just incredible.

MIA TARALBA: Mia Taralba(ph) (unintelligible) also Comanche and Wichita. These are my kids here and we just want them to see the beauty, all the many nations here gathering together. And they're so pretty, and so colorful and we're going, he's going dance tomorrow, these two are going to dance. So this will be their first tiny tot at the gathering and that means a lot. I want them to see that, you know, our Native people do come together and they do stick on to their traditions. They do stay with those traditions. And if we can take a part of that that we've seen here and take it home then, you know, it's all worth it.

MARTIN: Voices from this year's Gathering of Nations Powwow. It was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico last weekend. Our thanks to Sarah Gustavus(ph) from member station KUNM for collecting these interviews. And that's our program for today.

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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