A lot has been said lately regarding University of New Mexico’s decision to evict the Gathering of Nations from the confines of WisePies Arena aka The Pit. I have another take on the matter. I look at the eviction as a blessing in disguise.
Quite simply, the Gathering of Nations Powwow has outgrown the cozy but stuffy confines of The Pit.
As a person who has aged not so gracefully over the years, walking down the steep steps and coming back up was hell on my knees, and I’ve started to stay away despite my love of powwows. In addition, I had noticed that since my eyesight is not as good as it was years ago, I sometimes needed to stop at the top level and check for seating. That usually led to my being accosted by the occasional surly event staff member who insisted that I couldn’t stand there.
I think that most of them like to boss older people around. They should be working for the BIA (Boss Indians Around). I can’t wait for them to get old. But, I digress.
The floor is too confined, not cozy, and now gets too crowded with dancers with most simply staying in place until Grand Entry was completed. More floor room is desperately needed to handle the number of dancers.
That being said, the Tingley Arena at Expo New Mexico is old, but it has the room for more dancers because it’s not strictly a basketball arena. It would perfect with the exhibit halls being used for craft and food vendors and the Pavilion used for Stage 49.
I see this eviction as another possible missed opportunity for the city. There was a proposal put forth by the Pueblo Council to build an arena and events center Downtown, but our current mayor who likes to tout his business sense opted to spend a minor amount of taxpayer money and re-do the Convention Center. What a waste. With an events center, Albuquerque could have been back in the running to host the NCAA Regionals again.
This situation reminds me of another event that used to take place in November at the fairgrounds (Expo NM) called the National Indian Finals Rodeo and Powwow. That event was another money-maker for the city that ex-Mayor Chavez allowed to get away to Las Vegas, Nev.
A lot of money for the city is now at stake.
Better not let the Gathering get away.