Outgoing Miss Ramah sees crowning of new miss as highlight

Outgoing Miss Ramah sees crowning of new miss as highlight

PINEHILL, N.M.

Tiffina Maria, 21, shared a heartfelt moment on stage with Charmiqva Smith who was crowned the 2019-20 Miss Ramah Navajo queen. Maria held her hands and did a little prayer for Smith.

The crowning of the next Ramah Navajo ambassador was what she was looking forward to the most. “The highlight of my year as Miss Ramah was actually today at our Ramah Fair 2019,” Maria said, “I’m extremely excited to see who will be crowned next as our new royalties and who will serve our community.”

Holding the title of Miss Ramah Navajo queen was a lifelong goal for Maria, who is Tábaahá, born for Haltsooi. “I decided to run for Miss Ramah Navajo because I’ve always wanted to, ever since I was a young child,” Maria said. “It was my dream to represent my Ramah Navajo community.”

This year was more than just holding a title and being a royalty. “My year as Miss Ramah Navajo was a tremendous experience,” Maria said. “I learned a lot about my Diné culture as well as being a Diné woman.” She learned a lot from the people in her community and from her elders. “It really meant a lot to me and I really appreciate what people have taught me or has given me,” she said. “As well as their encouragement. I appreciate it so much!”

The challenge for her was being a college student and a title holder simultaneously. “The challenges I overcame were going to college while being Miss Ramah and representing my community,” Maria said. “It was very difficult to keep up with my studies. It’s a lot of time.” She is looking forward to furthering her education and is going to study at the University of Texas where she will major in early childhood education.

“I love little kids and I would love to come back to my community and start teaching kindergarten as well as starting a day-care center,” Maria said. The other challenge she had to overcome was talking Navajo publicly. “I know that standing in front of a crowd, especially in front of our elders, is very difficult because you have to speak your Diné Bizaad,” she said. “But it’s good and challenging. It will help you and teach you in the long run.”

While this was a challenge, it was also a blessing. “One thing I learned as Miss Ramah Navajo was to speak my Diné language,” she said. “It was very difficult for me in the beginning but the more and more I practiced it the more and more I learned my Diné language.” Maria wants to encourage the incoming titleholder to be brave. “

The advice I have is to please not be nervous,” she said. It was clear this title meant a lot to Maria. She was all smiles throughout the Ramah Navajo Fair and during the pageant. “Holding the title as Miss Ramah Navajo queen was one of the highlights of my life,” Maria said. “I’m very proud to represent my community and where I come from. I want to encourage a lot of other young girls to participate and to give it your all when you try to participate in a royalty competition.”

Not only was this a good experience for Maria but it sets her application apart from other people’s. “It’s very fun and exciting,” Maria said. “It looks good on applications.”

The new Miss Ramah Navajo queen, Charmiqva Smith, was crowned last Saturday during the Ramah Navajo Fair and Rodeo.



About The Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah