99th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial will go virtual in 2021 to share cultural heritage and traditions with global audience

GALLUP, NM - In a partnership between Intertribal Ceremonial Office and a coalition of community stakeholders, the 99th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial (GITIC) will be hosted mostly virtually August 6-7, 2021, offering the opportunity to people locally and throughout the globe to safely experience one of New Mexico’s most cherished cultural events. As the state’s public health order and pandemic evolve, in-person event components may be added to enhance the virtual event; the safety of the public will remain paramount.

Considered a New Mexico destination experience, the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial is known for attracting an international audience, and this year’s version of the event will hope to reach an even larger international audience by bringing the event online.  The 2021 Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial virtual broadcast programming will include live performances and featurettes of the event’s main attractions, such as Native American dance group highlights, extraordinary award-winning art, the Miss GITIC Queen program, and historical milestones. There will also be spotlight mentions on the ever-popular parade, rodeo, powwow, artisans, and famous Indian arts & craft traders.

“The community of Gallup and the Tribes of New Mexico and beyond deserve applause for their collective tenacity, creativity, and collaborative spirit,” Intertribal Ceremonial Office Director Melissa Sanchez said. “Through all of our combined efforts, including the Event Task Force and the newly appointed members of the Intertribal Ceremonial Board, the Ceremonial will continue to evolve and offer a wonderful cultural experience.”

“Last year, we did not have the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial for the first time in almost 100 years,” Gallup Mayor Louie Bonaguidi said. “I see this from a point of view that the virtual event is a way to keep the Ceremonial alive, as well as the opportunity to promote the centennial for next year.”

In an effort to provide additional guidance, an inclusive coalition of stakeholders, event coordinators, community partners, and volunteers have joined forces to create a Ceremonial Event Task Force. This collaborative team will contribute to the strategic planning to guide success for the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.

“I’m excited to see the Tourism Department and their vast wealth of experience, expertise, and marketing being used for the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial,” Gallup McKinley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Lee said. “This signature event in our community is fortunate to have this one-of-a-kind collaborative relationship with the department, which will bring positive recognition to this celebration of Native American culture.”

As one of New Mexico’s most treasured cultural events, the first Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial was held September 28, 1922. The event historically features the diversity, resilience, and evolution of Native American and Indigenous inter-tribal culture and art in both traditional and contemporary presentations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial was cancelled and consequently this year will be celebrated as the 99th anniversary and 2022 as the Centennial anniversary.

Throughout its century-old legacy, a variety of caretakers have kept the traditions of the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial alive. The event’s resilience is a result of the dedication and support of the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Association, Inc. (GITICA), City of Gallup, McKinley County, Intertribal Ceremonial Office, New Mexico Tourism Department, and decades of community “Ceremonial” supporters who volunteer their time and expertise. Throughout the span of the event, thousands of Native American and Indigenous dance groups, some generational participants, have shared songs, dances, art, and culture – a testament to both the resilience of the GITIC event and Native American tribes in New Mexico and from throughout the country.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently appointed new members to the Intertribal Ceremonial Board to advise the Intertribal Ceremonial Office on strategic planning recommendations for the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. The 8-member board includes the Director of the Intertribal Ceremonial Office, the New Mexico Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary or designee, and six members directly appointed by the Governor. The newly appointed members of the Intertribal Ceremonial Board are as follows:

Melissa Sanchez

Intertribal Ceremonial Office – Director

Antoinette Vigil

New Mexico Tourism Department – Deputy Cabinet Secretary

Chadwick “Chad” N. Hand

First American Title Co. – Escrow Officer


Loren Miller

LAM Corporation – Principal


Prudence V. Correa


Acoma Pueblo

Sabrina Garza

Expo New Mexico/New Mexico State Fair – Events Director

Theresa Lynn Fraizer

Gallup-McKinley County Schools – Public Relations Coordinator

Laguna Pueblo

Thomas Goodrich

United World College | New Mexico Highlands University | New Mexico Music Commission – Administrator

“One of New Mexico’s most long-standing events, as well as one of the oldest continuous recognition of Native American culture and workmanship, the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial holds tremendous cultural and historical significance for our state,” Vigil said. “The Tourism Department looks forward to a productive partnership with the board to strategically position this event and other tourism-related events to be more viable and sustainable for the post-pandemic era of tourism.”

“Growing up in Iyanbito and annually attending the Ceremonial, I am very honored to be appointed to this board and a part of an event representing Native American Peoples,” Hand said.

The Intertribal Ceremonial Board hosted its first regular meeting of 2021 on Wednesday, March 17, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. Due to the state’s emergency public health order, the meeting occurred virtually.