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With all of the activities planned for the Albuquerque Tricentennial, I hope that the Gathering Of Nations isn't overshadowed as a result.

This annual event, this year is the 22nd, includes North America's largest Pow Wow (over 3,000 indigenous dancers and singers representing over 500 tribes from Canada and the United States), as well as the Miss Indian World competition and a market featuring over 800 Native American artists, crafters and traders.

This year's Gathering Of Nations begins at 7:00pm next Thursday with the Miss Indian World traditional talent presentations (tickets are $10 in advance). The Pow Wow begins the following morning at The Pit (University Of Mexico Arena on Avenida Cesar Chavez). The Grand Entry of Dancers (at noon and 7:00pm on Friday and Saturday) is not to be missed. The festivities end with the crowning of Miss Indian World on Saturday night. One-day tickets (covering the Pow Wow and the Indian Traders Market without re-entry) cost $11 for Friday and $13 for Saturday; a two-day pass (including in and out privileges) runs $19.

Apart from watching the dancers and drum groups, my favorite part of any Native American gathering is loading up on the great food -- particularly fry bread with sugar and honey, Navajo tacos, and the occasional bowl of mutton stew. I can't wait!

Listen to 2004 Gathering Of Nations Pow Wow intro. by Rosanne Abrahamson: