Southern Utah University is proud to announce the selection of Guanita D. Joe as the 2010-11 Miss Native American SUU after Thursday evening’s pageant. A senior elementary education major from Brimahll, New Mexico, Joe will represent not only SUU but her native tribe the Di’ne or Navajo throughout the next year.
Joe, the new Miss Native American SUU, hopes to better engage Native Americans at SUU and in the local region and encourage them to not forget who they are in their cultures. Joe plans to become a teacher for elementary students and would like to offer youth programs for students to be involved in extracurricular activities.
“I hope to recruit native students to come to SUU and continue their education after high school, no matter what age they are,” said Guanita Joe. “It is important to continue your education and set goals to become someone better and to be a role model for others.”
Differing from other beauty pageants Miss Native American SUU is largely based on heritage and culture of the tribe the participants come from. Instead of formal wear, the participants wear traditional dress. These dresses can be very intricate and often are handed down from generation to generation.
Participants must also learn about their cultures and ancestry and then be able to replicate that on stage in a talent. Some of these talents include grinding corn, telling stories from the tribe and traditional dances.
“This is an opportunity for me to learn more about my heritage because I didn’t grow up around it,” said Kiersten Brown, a freshman from Heber City, and pageant participant. “I have enjoyed learning and participating in my culture and hope to help others do the same.”
“Families of the participants are very involved because a large portion of the pageant is based on traditions,” said Tina Calamity director of the Multicultural Center.
Miss Native America SUU will not only represent SUU but also her tribe as she works to promote issues that are specific to Native Americans. The process included an interview, traditional clothing and talent and an impromptu question on stage.
Joe will also be supported by her two attendants Mykael Johnson, a sophomore construction management major from Tonalea, Arizona, and Kolyna Holly, a senior exercise science major from Montezuma Creek.
The Miss Native American Pageant focuses on each contestant’s understanding of their culture and their ability to become a cultural representative as well as a spokesperson and advocate in the campus and regional communities.