THE GATHERING OF NATIONS
On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Shon Taylor and I got in the car for a road trip that would prove to be the adventure of a lifetime. At high noon, we pulled away from the TURN SLC main office and didn't look back. The destination was The Gathering of the Nations powwow, North Americas largest powwow that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico annually. Shon has been competing at powwows since he was a young man and has won numerous times in the northern fancy dance category. It is a great honor to dance at the Gathering of the Nations, which features members of almost every tribe in America as well as Canada. There were even some representatives from Peru. On day one, we arrived in Cortez, Colorado to check in to our hotel. Shon informed me his favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs. Conveniently, we had noticed a nice looking Italian restaurant on the way in to town that was not at all far from our hotel, so we headed over there for what would prove to be an amazing dinner. We both liked it so much we wanted to eat there again on the way home, but unfortunately, it was closed on the day we would be driving back through on our return. Friday morning came early (5 AM) as we still had a lot of road to cover. Not only that, but we ended up getting caught in a snow storm which drastically slowed our travel. We saw at least 5 accidents, but due to our rock solid karma, we were able to arrive on time. After some brief confusion at will call, Shon and I were each given our wrist bands for the weekend, his a VIP wristband and mine a sponsor wristband. The latter afforded us a private room in the coliseum with three couches, a private restroom, and yes, a shower!!! With little time to spare, Shon put on his regalia which is the proper name for the extravagant clothing each dancer wears, often created by the dancers themselves. It was time for the grand entrance, the marquee event of the powwow. If you ever have the opportunity to witness the grand entrance at the Gathering of Nations, I highly recommend it. Between the drums and singers and the millions of colors and images, you quickly become lost in the spectacle. It quite literally felt like I was dreaming. It was the beginning of what would prove to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. What I quickly became aware of is that each dance, each song, portrays a different feeling or state of being. This is a people who dances for happiness and joy. They dance for sadness and despair. They dance for victory. They dance for war and they dance for peace. They dance for hope, but no matter what, they dance.