1 Get to Gallup.
Indigenous people from around the world gather in Gallup this Thursday through August 14 for the 100th anniversary of the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial. A powwow, juried art show, and rodeo, along with Native films, parades, food vendors, and ceremonial queen and princess pageants fill the 11-day celebration. “There are over 500 tribes in the United States, and we hope to have as many tribal members representing as possible,” says Melissa Sanchez, executive director. “Events celebrating Native American and Indigenous culture create opportunities of empowerment through the ideals of cultural diversity and cultural connections.”
The first ceremonial was held in 1922, and has maintained the goal of showcasing Indigenous culture ever since. Held at Gallup’s visually stunning Red Rock Park, it includes a One World Beat concert featuring a performance by Haka, a Maori troupe from New Zealand. Bring cash for parking ($5) and plan on at least one full day of momentous experiences. (Click here for the full schedule.)
2 Fly high at Elephant Butte Lake.
Hot-air balloons lift from the sandy edges of Elephant Butte Lake each morning from 7 to 9 a.m. this weekend during the Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta. The event includes opportunities to ride in one of the balloons and a balloon glow on Saturday evening at the Sierra del Rio Golf Course, which is also hosting the Turtleback Mountain Music Festival.
3 Heal with poetry, song, and dance.
Natachee Momaday Gray (Kiowa) presents an original performance piece, Reliquías (Relics), at Santa Fe’s Teatro Paraguas on Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Including elements of movement, poetry, song, and prayer, it stars Momaday Gray, her blood sister, Tai Momaday Gray, and her chosen sister, Emily Grace Baca. “It is a piece my sisters and I wrote for one another and for the world,” Natachee says. “It is an offering for collective healing, and an introspective, rooted love labor. It feels dutiful and courageous to present this work.” Natachee’s first collection of poetry, Silver Box, will be published in 2023. Masks are encouraged at the event.
4 Explore the borderlands.
More than 80 works by 29 regional artists shine in Icons and Symbols of the Borderlands, a new exhibit opening at the Museum of Art in Las Cruces on Friday with a reception and artist talks at 5:30 p.m. Curated by Diana Molina, creative director of the Juntos Art Association, the show delves into how the U.S.–Mexico border shapes the land as well as the artists who live and work around it. The area’s past and present appear in mediums that range from neon to sculptures, with paintings grouped into four themes: the environment; foodways; the sacred and the profane; and the frontier. “Through these focal points, the artists present the vitality and complex cultural inheritance found in the borderlands,” says Jennifer McClung, the museum’s exhibits curator. Don’t miss the mask-making workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. See the exhibit through October 15.
5 Hoop and holler.
Hoop dancing was an Indigenous healing ceremony until Tony White Cloud (Jemez Pueblo) modernized the dances in the 1930s, when he started using multiple hoops in his choreography. Nakotah LaRance (Hopi/Tewa) took the art to new heights when he combined elements of hip-hop with hoop dancing, eventually becoming a nine-time world champion and the first Indigenous person to star in a Cirque du Soleil show. Before his tragic death in 2020, he founded the Lightning Boy Foundation to teach Native youth to dance. On Saturday and Sunday, the foundation hosts the Nakotah LaRance Youth Hoop Dance Competition at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, in Santa Fe. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, different age brackets of young dancers will take to the stage and show off their blossoming skills.