O’siyo. Miss Taylor Thomas, Shoshone-Bannock of Ft. Hall Idaho, is the winner of the 30th annual Miss Indian World pageant. The event took place at the Gathering of Nations Pow wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from April 22-26.The 23 contestants represented Native tribes in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Excerpt: No swimsuit competition for Miss Indian World, By Tristan Ahtone, America Alijazeera.
Taylor Thomas, 21, is a full-time college student at Idaho State University, majoring in political science. A huge supporter of Native youth programs and Indigenous Native language perseveration, Taylor previously served as a National Congress of American Indian youth ambassador from 2010 – 2012. For Thomas’ talent presentation she shared the history of a traditional Shoshone 49 song and dedicated the song she sang to all veterans- all men and women in uniform. Gathering of Nations.
“Back in the Native village of Napaimute in southwest Alaska, Megan Leary drives a snowmobile, can fix the engine on a boat, and carries a bolt-action .243 Winchester rifle when moose hunting. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, she’s a potential pageant queen.
The pageant unfolds against the backdrop of the Gathering of Nations Powwow, which since its start 31 years ago has become the biggest powwow in the world, bringing in an estimated 112,000 people each year and up to $21 million in economic impact to the area…Since the pageant’s inception in 1984, indigenous women have traveled to Albuquerque to compete for the title of Miss Indian World. While the event has roots in such mainstream pageants as Miss America, Miss Indian World deviates by promoting a competing concept of beauty. In place of swimsuits, the occasion endorses cultural competency. Instead of evening-wear, language proficiency.
The result: an exotic Native American spectacle in the form of a beauty pageant and marketed as such by event organizers, while at the same time providing a cultural space for indigenous women to challenges stereotypical notions of the Indian maiden or the disappearing Indian… The auditorium was full, almost all Native…They cheered with every traditional story told by the competitors. They applauded after songs were sung, and whistled after each cultural presentation — from doll making to skin sewing.
Besides a short dance competition, the talent portion is the only thing audiences get to see of the Miss Indian World pageant, as the rest is conducted behind closed doors…An estimated 25 judges participate in the Miss Indian World competition, but their names are withheld from the press, as well as their judging criteria and many of the actual events competitors get scored on, such as a personal essay or interview…The nonprofit Gathering of Nations Limited puts on the powwow and Miss Indian World competition each year. Read more here…”
Congratulations to Taylor Thomas, and to all of the contestants in the Miss Indian World pageant.
“Miss Indian World is a role model to young and old and help to educate and demonstrate the beauty and diversity of Native American culture as well as represent the Gathering of Nations throughout her travels.” ~Miss Indian World Mission Statement~