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Former Naabeehó Bich’eekį’ titleholders share memories at coronation night

Former Naabeehó Bich’eekį’ titleholders share memories at coronation night

WINDOW ROCK – The Miss Navajo Nation pageant began Monday morning, Sept. 4, with the sheep-butchering contest at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds.

Special to the Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Miss Navajo Nation first runner-up Myleka Nizhoni John signs a photograph for Seeley Sloan, 7, after the Miss Navajo Nation coronation on Saturday night in Window Rock.

On Saturday evening, attendees filled the staircases leading up to the Window Rock Sports Center, eager to find the best seats to watch the coronation.

Among the crowd waiting were two former Miss Navajo Nation titleholders: 1996-97 Miss Navajo Nation Josephine Tracey and 2014-15 Miss Navajo Nation McKeon K. Dempsey.

Compared to the late ‘90s, Tracey said the pageant has changed dramatically.

“I think over the years, it has lightened up,” said Tracey. “I’m sorry to say that, but back then, we were grilled on every little thing, especially the butchering.”

Tracey remembers the judges who asked her difficult questions, like the exact articles and sections in the Treaty of 1868. Today, Tracey said she doesn’t see that depth of knowledge being a requirement.

Special to the Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Outgoing Miss Navajo Nation 2022-23 Valentina Clitso delivers her farewell speech to the crowd during the Miss Navajo Nation coronation on Saturday in Window Rock.

Over the past week, Naabik’íyáti reallocated $75,000 that was heading to the first lady’s office to the Miss Navajo’s office.

Tracey said she hoped that with the money, Miss Navajo’s office could revamp the competition and advertise more because she noticed the number of contestants competing had decreased since she competed.

Read the full story in the Sept. 14 edition of the Navajo Times.

About The Author

Kianna Joe

Kianna Joe is Bit’ahnii and born for Kinyaa’áanii. She was born in Gallup. She received first place for best editorial in the student division for the 2022 National Media Awards. She is now an intern for the Navajo Times, covering matters in the Phoenix Valley while attending school at Arizona State University.


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