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Title-holder accepts role as community leader
By Jessica Beheler, United Tribes Technical College

25 January 2011

BISMARCK (UTN) - “I see the crown as much more than just being about the individual,” said Evereta Thinn, a 27-year-old Dine’ woman from the Navajo Nation in Arizona. “I’ve really wanted it to be more than just going around making appearances.”

      The crown, a shiny, unmistakable symbol of her reign, has been hers to wear since last fall, when she became the eighteenth Miss Indian Nations during the 2010 United Tribes International Powwow.

Evereta Thinn, Dine’, was presented to the audience at the United Tribes International Powwow when named Miss Indian Nations XVIII in September 2010. DENNIS J. NEUMANN/United Tribes News

      “Each Miss Indian Nations has made it their own throughout the years; they’re the ones who decide how they want their year to run,” she said.

      Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the pageant has been a showcase for tribal culture and not strictly a beauty contest in the sense of other pageants. Previous title-holders have been called upon by United Tribes to use their special talents in music and cultural awareness to make presentations before tribal and mainstream audiences all over the country.

      Thinn clearly enjoys the opportunity to travel. She makes it a point to visit schools wherever she goes and reach out to kids.

      As a child growing up in Shonto, Arizona, with fewer than 1,000 people, Thinn never heard about tribal royalty.

      “Let’s see, we have one store, one laundry mat and a chapter house for the people who represent us. Oh, and the nearest Wal-Mart is about an hour away!” In Shonto, like small communities throughout Indian Country, everyone seems to know everyone else.

      “I really care about the kids and I understand that it takes a community to raise a kid and I know that because my community has helped me get to where I am.”

      Asked how children respond to her, she laughed and said the most commonly asked question is about the crown: “Is the crown really made out of metal? Or is it real heavy? Or can I touch it? then can I wear it?” She smiles and continues, “Even to just let them do that I think it gives them hope, something to look forward to. Like, ‘I wanna be like her!’”

      Thinn started competing in pageants in college and was crowned Miss Indian Arizona State University 2003-04, Miss Indian Arizona 2007-08, and Miss Indian World 1st Runner-Up 2009.

      In college she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and American Indian studies from Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. She plans to continue her education by studying international law. She hopes to lobby for indigenous issues once she receives a law degree and eventually enter the Peace Corps.

      Thinn recently started an internship in Washington, DC with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, and is also attending American University part time.

      Many of her engagements as Miss Indian Nations have been of the appearances variety. At parades and entertainment events, she raises awareness about tribes and tribal people, and educates about the Dine’ (Navajo) culture as a Native ambassador. But she aspires to do projects with an impact.

      “As a title holder, I think you are looked at as a leader in the community,” said Thinn. “We look up to our leaders…they should provide some type of community service or community project.”

      Her priority community project is to be able to hold a youth conference, or create a conference-like tour, to inspire young people and encourage and motivate them to follow their dreams and passions.

      “If you want to go to school, if you have an artistic ability or talent, don’t be afraid to keep on going. It’s time that young people step into the roles of leadership and prepare to become leaders,” she said. “And not forget our young kids because we want to make sure they have the right tools as they grow up to make decisions for us too.”

Jessica Beheler is a multi-media producer in the United Tribes Office of Public Information. Her work appears on the United Tribes Facebook page and the education section of Dakota Media Access TV.



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