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Racist Comments Flood in After UNM Drops Gathering of Nations

Billed as “North America’s Biggest Powwow” for more than 30 years, the annual Gathering of Nations (GON), held on the last weekend of April, has to find a new home. The home for GON—until recently—has been WisePies Arena, better known as “The Pit,” the home court of the University of New Mexico Lobos basketball team.

According to UNM executive vice-president David Harris, the reasons for ending the agreement were “financial and operational… The University is facing tough budgetary constraints, hosting the Pow Wow had become prohibitively costly to our athletic department, as well as risk services, police and security, and other university operations.”

Shortly after Albuquerque television news KRQE-TV reported that the University of New Mexico had decided to end their hosting of the Pow Wow, the comment section of the KRQE website was flooded with racially-charged and stereotypical remarks. The comments are going viral in Indian Country.

The comments on the KRQE-TV are as follows:

  • Mary Berry—Where are those people going to gather now, to drink their mouthwash !?!?!?
  • Scott raines [sic]—Drunks gathering together for a powwow shouldn’t be a tradition go to the bird of paradise [Liquors store] 20 minutes before they open and you’ll see the same thing
  • Adam_Saline—Good they can go back to their sovereign nations and have their party.
  • achoo, blessyou—Not to mention that the people that fill the Pit for this event are giant slobs who destroy everything that crosses their path. Seriously, what a disaster.
  • MichaelJohnson—I think the Washington Redskins should play a game in the Pit…
  • Slick—If I read between the lines and filter out the diplomacy in their official statement, it looks like they are just tired of unruly drunk savages mucking up the arena. They’re tired of cleaning up beer cans and used diaper leathers strewn about the parking lot.

One of the comments is directed toward The Red Nation, a New Mexico-based Native rights group leading protests against the University of New Mexico’s seal, which depicts a Spanish conquistador

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See Related: The Univ. of New Mexico Seal Is Irrevelent to Reality

  • Cowboy63—RedNation is demanding a change for the UNM Seal! RedNation claims admin is out of line and wants tuition waivers too! Well, here you go, stick this in your peace pipe and smoke it you pie faced wagon burners!!! YOU ARE GONE…NEXT…LMAO…

Indian Country Today Media Network contacted KRQE-TV regarding the comments which are receiving considerable attention in Indian Country.

One administrator, who did not wish to be identified, informed ICTMN about the website’s commenting policies.

“Everyone’s allowed to comment on our site,” she said. “We don’t allow anonymous commenters. They have to have a screen name or email. If other users deem a comment as inappropriate, they can flag it for moderation. Once it’s in moderation, then we step in from there.”

At press time, talks are in the works between GON event organizers and City of Albuquerque officials to find a new home for the powwow.

Brian Daffron can be found on Twitter @briandaffron