ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico announced Wednesday it will no longer host the Gathering of Nations Powwow after failing to renegotiate an agreement with event organizers.
An event that draws tens of thousands of people representing more than 700 tribes, the Gathering of Nations is about tradition. And traditionally, the celebration has taken place at “The Pit.”
But after 30 years, UNM canceled an agreement to host the event. The move had the Gathering of Nations founder firing back on Thursday, saying that he is “appalled at the disrespect and disregard from the university.”
UNM said that in the face of budget cuts, the event is too costly for the university to continue hosting.
Now, KRQE News 13 is taking a closer look at what that means.
UNM said the Gathering of Nations pays a flat rate to rent out The Pit. Last year, after the university took care of cleanup costs, and UNM said it actually lost $2,380 on the deal.
Compared that to when The Pit hosts the Professional Bull Riders event — PBR pays UNM a percentage of ticket sales.
When it was all said and done last year, UNM came out with a profit of $261,464, according to the university.
UNM said it tried to renegotiate a contract with the Gathering of Nations last year, but a new deal didn’t pan out.
In response, Gathering of Nations event organizers said they are “ready to move to a venue with partners who share our goals and values and support our traditions and cultures.”
It’s something city leaders have been working on to keep this tradition in Albuquerque.
“We’ve been in meetings all day trying to sort all this out,” said Steve Schroeder, chairman of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.
“We talked about this being a difficult situation, but we also talked about leveraging this into making the event even bigger and even better,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry.
One possible new venue people mentioned on Thursday is Expo New Mexico.
While that is still up in the air, supporters say one thing is certain.
“The show will go on in 2017,” Schroeder said.