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Gathering of Nations raises money for education, literacy

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – More than 150,000 people attended the 26th Annual Gathering of Nations, which took place in Albuquerque in April.

The event brought between $20 million and $30 million of revenue to the city. In addition, the pow wow raised more than $15,000 for the Gathering of Nations’ Academic Scholarship Program which provides a Native American student with a full scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Dr. Lita Matthews’ Youth Literacy Program provided more than 300 children with books ranging from fiction and non-fiction to dictionaries and encyclopedias helping to improve their knowledge, skills and facilitate an interest in reading.

With more than 500 tribes from throughout the United States and around the world celebrating their culture and traditions, artisans, craftsmen and traders at the Indian Trader’s Market sold more than $2 million in goods and services at the event. It also generated exposure for up and coming performing artists as nearly 40 musical groups and entertainers performed.

Beyond positively impacting the economy, providing scholarships to students, and helping children to read, Gathering of Nations also brought families together resulting in numerous family reunions, wedding proposals and singing, dancing and prayer among tribes. California native Brooke Grant, member of the Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk and Chippewa tribes, was crowned 2009 Miss Indian World and is the new cultural goodwill ambassador to all Native and indigenous communities throughout the world.

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“We are grateful for this year’s attendance during the economic downturn and humbly acknowledge the support of those who attended the pow wow, especially the indigenous people who traveled thousands of miles from throughout the world including Canada, Germany, Italy and Australia. This year’s success reinforces the fact that no matter how bleak the economy, it is important for people to share their culture and heritage through music, dance and prayer,” said Derek Matthews, founder of the Gathering of Nations.

“We have already begun planning for next year’s Gathering of Nations and look forward to raising more money for education, literacy and bringing people together to celebrate their traditions.”