Powwow Inks Cannabis Deal
Starting in 2017, one of our nations largest Native American Powwows will not only have a new venue but also a new name. The Gathering of Nations, a yearly Albuquerque event that draws more than 90,000 spectators and 700 tribes to three days of dancing, cultural celebration and native solidarity has a new sponsor. In May the festival announced plans to move to Expo New Mexico after their contract with UNM was not renewed. The Gathering of Nations had been held at UNM's Basketball area—once called the Pit, but now renamed Wise Pies Arena due to corporate sponsorship—for 30 years.
Beginning with next year's iteration of the storied gathering, the powwow will be called the Ultra Health Gathering of Nations. Ultra Health is an integral provider in the medical cannabis industry, overseeing operations that provide medical marijuana materials and services to patients in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
This past Wednesday Gathering of Nations founder Derek Matthews and Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez inked a deal that includes corporate sponsorship through 2022, with an option to expand the partnership through 2027. Rodriguez, formerly the New Mexico Human Services Secretary (under Governor Gary Johnson) and later COO at Lovelace Health Systems, said, “The Gathering of Nations Powwow is a very spiritual and social celebration. At Ultra Health we believe such components are vital to well-being, and sponsoring the event was an obvious decision in light of the importance Native people have historically put on healing and natural medicine."
Prior to securing the sponsorship of the big dance, Ultra Health had applied to sponsor the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a high-flying request that was ultimately declined.