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Prominent powwow set to begin in wake of pipeline protests

(Photo by Derek Matthews) (Photo by Derek Matthews)

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - One of North America's most prominent powwows is set to begin in New Mexico.

The Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque comes in the wake of pipeline protests in North Dakota that became a historic display of Native American solidarity.

Last year's powwow attracted about 3,000 dancers from hundreds of tribes in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It routinely draws at least 80,000 visitors.

The event, which opens Thursday, is intended to be nonpolitical, but Larry Yazzie, its official announcer, said people will be reminded why they are coming together, and that the "water protectors" - those who joined the pipeline protests - will be acknowledged.

The Gathering of Nations will be held at Expo New Mexico after the organization parted ways in a public spat with its longtime host - the University of New Mexico and its basketball arena.

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