The New Mexico Tourism Department (NMTD) hired Melissa Sanchez to serve as Director for the Indian Ceremonial Office (ICO).

Sanchez will oversee the strategic planning, promotion and operations for the annual Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial. The ICO is administratively attached to NMTD. 

“Melissa has an extensive track record of managing Native American events and collaboration with community partners, and we welcome her expertise and creativity to the team,” Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said.

Sanchez enters the role with decades of experience working with tribal entities and events and has dedicated countless hours to organizations and causes that supported Native American and Indigenous arts in New Mexico and throughout the world.

Since 2004, Sanchez served as Co-Owner and Producer of Emergence Productions, which specialized in Native American and Indigenous performing arts through event production, talent management, promotion and industry research among other services.

Since 1998, Sanchez has worked directly with Gathering of Nations Ltd., to help execute the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, Stage 49 and the Miss Indian World Pageant among other major features of the event.

Sanchez also served as the Entertainment & Special Events Manager for Acoma Business Enterprises from 2002-2004. In April 2005, Sanchez was appointed to the New Mexico Music Commission and served on the commission until January 2020.

Sanchez is a graduate of New Mexico State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management in 1992.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial was cancelled and the Intertribal Ceremonial Office will be preparing for the future.