Miss Indian World contestants share cultural teachings, songs

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 1, 2014

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(Photos by Colleane Kean - Special to the Times)

TOP: Tonantzin Miranda performs the sacred fire dance of her people, the Chichimeca/Mexica Tribe, as her traditional talent during the 2014 Miss Indian World contest in Albuqeurque.

SECOND FROM TOM: Taylor Thomas, Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, sings a traditional 49 song accompanied by a tribal drummer during the 2014 Miss Indian World contest.

THIRD FROM TOP: Danielle Ta’Sheena, Standing Rock Sioux, waves to the crowd at the Albuquerque Convention Center after performing archery skills as her traditional talent during the 2014 Miss Indian World contest.

BOTTOM: Sitting next to her grandmother and her niece on-stage at the Albuquerque convention center, Shae Ann Claw, Diné, explains the process of making a Navajo basket during the Miss Indian World Contest.

Magic was in the air last Thursday night.

From every direction, at every turn and down every aisle of the city's convention center auditorium, royalty appeared wearing the regalia of their ancestors and sashes identifying their tribal nations laced across their shoulders.

Miss Indian World contestants from across the world were adorned in majestic crowns, velveteen skirts and blouses, squash bloom necklaces, intricate beads and fine silver.

"We are all strong, indigenous women," said host of the evening's 31st Gathering of Nations Miss Indian World contest and Canadian television personality Lisa Meeches to the audience made up of hundreds of people.

The 23 contestants, ages 18 to 25, were from Mexican, Canadian and American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes.

The contestants were judged by a panel of five judges on a traditional talent, public speaking, a dance competition and an essay.

During her presentation, wearing an elegant headdress that emerged like a mystical rainbow of blue, brown, yellow and red feathers from her indigenous lands in Mexico, Tonantzin Miranda, who performed the sacred fire dance of the Chichimeca people, announced that the time has come for tribal people from across the world to unite, setting the tone for evening's competition.

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