ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of Native American and indigenous dancers crowded onto the floor of the University of New Mexico Arena to mark the start of this year's powwow season.

The three-day Gathering of Nations, North America's largest powwow, drew more than 1,500 competitive dancers and tens of thousands of spectators from across the U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico.

On Friday, the festivities kicked off with dancers from Saskatchewan and a drum group from Quebec in acknowledgement of the Idle No More movement that is sweeping across Indian Country.

The movement began after indigenous groups protested a Canadian proposal that they said would threaten their self-governance and control of traditional land bases.

Gathering of Nations spokesman Larry Yazzie says the movement has brought people together and is reminding them of who they are as Native Americans.