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Founder: Miss Utah Navajo pageant was way to regain pride

Founder: Miss Utah Navajo pageant was way to regain pride
Past holders of the Miss Utah Navajo crown listen as Clyde Benally, founder of the pageant, tells what motivated him to stage a pageant for Utah Navajos. The pageant dates to 1979. (Times photo - Cindy Yurth)

Past holders of the Miss Utah Navajo crown listen as Clyde Benally, founder of the pageant, tells what motivated him to stage a pageant for Utah Navajos. The pageant dates to 1979. (Times photo – Cindy Yurth)

MONTEZUMA CREEK, Utah – You might say the Miss Utah Navajo pageant started with a 7th-grade history textbook.

Growing up in the isolated Utah section of the reservation, where they rarely saw a bilagáana, it had never occurred to Clyde Benally to be embarrassed about his culture. He strove hard to be a good, balanced person in the Navajo way, and his grandmother always told him there was a special pride in being a Utah Navajo, because they never surrendered to the Long Walk.

About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth was the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation, until her retirement on May 31, 2021. Her other beats included agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.”

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