Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial

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Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial

Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.

A landmark Native American ceremonial celebrates a century.

By Ashley M. Biggers

Launched in 1922, the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial will mark its hundredth anniversary in 2022. It's one of New Mexico's longest continuously held events, as well as one of the oldest continuously held celebrations of Native American culture and art and inspired numerous other gatherings across the American Southwest.

A handful of Gallup traders — individuals who ran businesses swapping sundry goods for Native American art — founded the ceremonial to attract rail and car travelers to the Western New Mexico town that hugs the border of the Navajo Nation.

In the ceremonial's first year, travelers pulled into a park, circled their cars, and illuminated Native American dancers with headlights. Nearby, a circus-style tent housed Native American artists selling their silver jewelry and rugs. Nightly dances and a now-renowned art market are still part of the ceremonial nearly a century later.