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New Miss Indian Nations is interested in American Indian health care reform
9 September 2006

BISMARCK (UTN) - A member of the Tohono O'dham and Ponca Nations of Kansas, who aspires to improve health care for tribal people, is the new Miss Indian Nations. Ponka-We Vickers, a direct descendent of Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca Tribe, was selected as the fourteenth Miss Indian Nations here on September 9.

      "I'm shocked that I was chosen," said Vickers after being crowned following three days of judging during the United Tribes International Powwow. "But I'm very humbled by the honor. God has blessed me."

Ponka-We Vickers
Ponka-We Vickers is filled with emotion as she receives the Miss Indian Nations XIV sash from Bobbi Rae Sage at a ceremony during the United Tribes International Powwow.

      Miss Vickers, 25, is the daughter of Juan and Sandra Vickers, Wichita, Kansas. She's studying for a master's degree in public administration at Wichita State University.

      Miss Vickers says there's "obvious need for improvement" in the health care system that serves Indian people. She believes the system falls short of providing "proper and appropriate assistance" for native people who need medical attention.

      "I want to become involved and help find solutions to the problems," she wrote in an essay for the pageant. Restructuring a "new and improved" Indian Health Service is one of her ideas.

      "I would love to have the opportunity to lobby in Congress for significant changes," she wrote.

      She may just get that opportunity.

      With the title come travel opportunities that have included visits to the nation's capitol for previous title holders.

      Following three days of judging during the powwow, Miss Vickers won the talent competition with traditional songs and was selected for the Tribal Chairman's Award. Following the coronation ceremony, Miss Vickers was presented to the powwow crowd that numbered over 4,000 at Lone Star Arena.

      Competing for the national title were four other candidates from tribes around the country. Named First Runner Up was Everetta Thinn (Dine) Mesa, AZ. Selected Second Runner Up and also winning the Children's Choice Award was Jennifer Mellette (Standing Rock Lakota) McLaughlin, SD. Third Runner Up and winner of the Congeniality Award was Lena N. Nells (Cheyenne/Arapaho/Kickapoo/Navajo) Moodys, OK. Gabrielle Knife (Cheyenne River Lakota) Eagle Butte, SD, received the President's Award.

      Miss Vickers was presented with the crown by outgoing Miss Indian Nations Bobbi Rae Sage (Three Affiliated) Mandaree, ND.

      Participants were judged on traditional skills, public appearance and presentations, communication skill and speaking ability, personal conduct, and answers to general and impromptu questions.

      The Miss Indian Nations program is open to American Indian women ages 17 to 26. Miss Vickers will serve for one year as a cultural ambassador. United Tribes Technical College coordinates her public appearances. Sponsorships and contributions are accepted to help underwrite the program.

      For more information or to schedule an appearance, contact Miss Indian Nations at United Tribes Technical College, 3315 University Drive, Bismarck, ND, 58504, 701-255-3285. Visit the website www.uttc.edu and click on Miss Indian Nations, or visit http://min.unitedtribespowwow.com.


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