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For merchants like Brenda Correa, she was back at her craft.
“My gosh, I feel so good being back because I was literally a starving artist,” Correa said. “So yes, it is wonderful and the crowd has blessed us with sales.”
The Gathering of Nations Powwow once again hosted thousands of people along with over 750 tribes from all parts of America and Canada represented. The three-day event at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque brought together more than 3,000 traditional Native American dancers and singers competing for prizes, and more.
Correa, an artist from Ohkay Owingeh who specializes in pottery, was among the vendors who filled the Indian Traders Market.
“I have been here since it was I think the third annual when it was first started at The Pit at the University of New Mexico,” Correa said Saturday.
Despite the two-year, pandemic-related hiatus, sales have been solid for Correa and company.
“We hit our sales goal yesterday and were above our sales, and today is looking promising so far,” Correa.
While Correa used to hit more powwows in the United States, she is more regional nowadays.
“I gave up a lot of travel so now I only do Denver March powwow, this one and the Taos powwow,” Correa said. “In Albuquerque, jewelry boxes sell the best while in Oklahoma, it is turtles and bears that sell.”
The Correa clan was one of the many families that participated in the powwow trail, where you partake in multiple nearby trails across the nation.
“My mom and dad used to do the powwow trails and start in Denver and just go and travel wherever the nearby shows were,” she said.
Outside of business, the Gathering of Nations is also a time for leisure.
“It means the gathering of all my friends and I get to see all my friends and my repeat customers,” Correa said. “I have loyal customers that come back year after year and they always add to their collection.”
Though it may be viewed as a business to most, it is a family event for Correa.
“My mom does this pottery so I learned from her, I did not start doing it until my 30s – I wasn’t interested like my mom,” Correa said.
Correa’s mother, Maria Adelicia, is also a merchant from Ohkay Owingeh who specializes in sculptures and pottery.
When Correa is not busy making sales, she too likes to patronize the local merchants.
“Rex Hamburgers are here and they are delicious,” Correa said. “They hand make the burgers but I have not had a chance to order one yet though this time.”