Recently I was honored and privileged to be a sponsor at the Miss Native American USA pageant, otherwise known as MNAUSA 2014. Nine beautiful and incredible women competed in this pageant. They came from California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and beyond. They had a long and fun day competing in events such as a formal interview, evening gown, talent, and traditional wear. I was enthralled as I learned more about these amazing women and their respective cultures. I heard a legend from the Bishop Paiute tribe, witnessed a women weaving a traditional Navajo blanket in the Crystal pattern indigenous to Crystal, NM. I watched an incredibly talented woman tell the story of creation through hoop dancing. There were so many enlightening displays of talent and heritage, I can't even begin to describe them all. Towards the end of the pageant some local tribe members from Fort McDowell treated us all with a traditional honor song for last years title holder Sarah Ortegon. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this experience was for me. I highly recommend that any of you who are able to attend next year do so. It is something you will never forget.
One of my favorite photos from the evening was one I took of this year's pageant winner, April Yazza, during the evening gown competition. She is a beautiful, talented young woman, and I can't wait to see what she accomplishes this year!
Which of these photos is your favorite?