ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A dancer visiting Albuquerque for the Gathering of Nations is heartbroken. Someone broke into her car while it was parked at a hotel, and stole something very special to her.
Now, Natives from all over are spreading the word to try and get her Native beadwork back.
Thousands of dancers from more than 700 tribes bring their best Native regalia to The Pit in Albuquerque for the world’s biggest Pow Wow.
“I love to dance, I love the way it makes me feel, it makes me feel happy,” explained Danika Goodwill, an Osage Indian from Gray Horse, Oklahoma.
She’s made the journey to the Gathering of Nations for decades.This year, she and her husband traveled from Kansas to dance in the Pow Wow.
Saturday morning, she woke up to find their car window smashed in at the Super 8 motel parking lot on University near Menaul.
“My first thought was my husband’s beadwork,” Goodwill told KRQE News 13. Her husband’s regalia was there. She said they put a blanket over the broken glass and drove to The Pit.
When she went to grab her bag, she couldn’t find it. “That was the moment I realized that it was gone,” Goodwill recalled. “It just hurts my heart that they just took it.”
Her hand-made crown, choker and earrings beadwork that she designed is gone. “It’s like the main focal point of my regalia,” said Goodwill. “When you look at me, that’s the first thing that you see.”
Goodwill’s whole dress took her a year-and a half to make. “It says a lot about who I am,” she explained. “My name that I was given was ‘Good Eagle Woman,’ hence the eagles on there.”
Her husband was desperate to find the stolen crown. He left the gathering Saturday to try and search any place the thieves might have dumped the beadwork. He looked in the street, every trash can, he even searched nearby dumpsters, but he didn’t have any luck.
Goodwill said her beadwork is very special. “Everything is so personal to me, and I know it doesn’t mean anything to them,” she told KRQE News 13.
Thousands of people have posted and shared photos of her stolen beadwork on social media.
The theft put a damper on the trip, but, Goodwill said it didn’t stop her from dragging her husband onto the dance floor.
“I just said we’re just gonna make the best of it, we’re here, we came here to dance and that’s what we’re gonna do,” Goodwill said. “I don’t know what I’m wearing, but I’m dancing!”
Goodwill said she and her husband both finished their dances. She went on to win first place in her category for Southern Buckskin dancers.
Goodwill’s stolen beadwork is worth at least $4,000. She said she blames herself for leaving her accessory bag in the car and said she won’t make the same mistake again.
Along with her beadwork, the couple’s wallets which had their social security cards, ID and credit cards, were also stolen.