SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The first-ever intertribal powwow on the Santa Fe Plaza occurred during Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

Native Americans representing various tribal nations gathered at the plaza for dancing, drumming, singing, food, and a Parade of Nations. “I’m very fortunate and very blessed to be a part of this. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s really great to see something like that happening and take place,” said Michael Garcia from the Acoma Pueblo.

The intertribal powwow was hosted by the Santa Fe Indigenous Center and was planned and set up in about three months. The celebration comes after the City of Santa Fe amended its ordinance in 2022 to allow three small cultural events on the plaza, including Juneteenth, Pride, and Indigenous People’s Day. “We felt it was really important to bring our culture back to where the original pueblo lands, tribal lands were,” said Caren Gala, director of the Santa Fe Indigenous Center.

There are 23 Indian tribes located in New Mexico – 19 Pueblos, three Apache tribes (the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Mescalero Apache Tribe), and the Navajo Nation. The nineteen Pueblos are comprised of the Pueblos of Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, Sandia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Zuni and Zia.

Donna Huaman-Castillo, who represented the Quechua people in Peru, said the powwow on the plaza and Indigenous People’s Day marked a time to celebrate and educate others. “You know, we’re still alive. And then, we’re all in our traditional clothing, and something that really needs to be said is that we’re not a costume,” Huaman-Castillo said.

The powwow event staff and attendees who KRQE News 13 spoke with said they were happy to see everyone come together for the event. “Here is a prime example of how the United States and the whole world should treat each other,” said John Cannon, a volunteer at Santa Fe Indigenous Center. “And that’s what we’re trying to bring to the Plaza on Indigenous Day, to showcase not only our indigenous culture, the powwow culture, but also have respect and invite everybody, every culture here, to get along.”