Miss Indian Nations Takes Community Leadership Role
As The Bismarck Tribune reported way back last September 11th, 27-year old Evereta Thinn, Diné, was crowned Miss Indian Nations at the 2010 United Tribes International pow wow. The Navajo Times' Carolyn Calvin followed up with a piece last October about how the 18th Miss Indian Nations objective during her reign was to encourage children to dream big. "Kids have to dream big and not set any limits on themselves," Thinn told Calvin, "there are more opportunities out there for them."
The international pow wow took place in Bismarck, North Dakota, at the crowning of a new Miss Indian Nations means that Thinn now serves as an ambassador for all Indian nations and as an official representative of the United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), the nonprofit corporation owned and operated by the five tribes located wholly or in part in North Dakota. These include the Three Affiliated Tribes of Ft. Berthold, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.
Thinn grew up in Shonto, Arizona, a town with fewer then 1,000 people, and she said she never heard about tribal royalty during her childhood.
In a press release issued by the UTTC, Thinn said of her hometown, "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!” That smallness, however, was something she cherished. “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.”
Thinn began competing in pageants during her time at college, and was eventually named Miss Indian Arizona State University for the 2003-2004 year. She was also named Miss Indian Arizona in 2007-2008, and was a first runner-up for Miss Indian World in 2009 at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As Enry Zah reported in the Navajo Times, Thinn also won the award for best dancer in the 2010 Miss Indian World Competition at the Gathering.
At Arizona State, Thinn earned a bachelor's degree in political science and American Indian studies, and one of her great ambitions is to attend law school, receive a Jurist Doctorate degree specializing in International Law to emphasis on indigenous peoples rights. After law school, Thinn plans on doing two-years with the Peace Corps.
It's clear that Thinn offers the kids who look up to her more then just a pretty face. She's recently begun an internship with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration in Washington D.C., which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, while attending American University part time. Thinn will be shadowing the Director for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Dr. Clark, to various meetings at the myriad departments and agencies CSAT works with, and will be assisting the tribal coordinator, Sheila Cooper, on her projects that pertain to Indian Country, specifically the upcoming National Indian Youth Suicide Conference.
As for her responsibilities as Miss Indian Nations, Thinn wants to not only raise awareness about the issues important to tribes across the nation, educate others about her own Diné culture, but also create community projects such as holding a youth conference to inspire young people. On January 27th, she attended the "State of the Indian Nations" address at the Newseum Knight Studios in Washington, D.C., that focused on "working to uphold the Federal Trust Responsibility to Tribal Nations," according to the National Congress of American Indians website. She will be attending the Denver March pow wow and the Gathering of Nations pow wow, as well as appearing at various schools in both cities. During the weekend of the Gathering, in Albuquerque, NM, she is scheduled to visit with the Native Veterans at the VA Hospital, and the next day she will attend the “Miss Indian World Pageant”. If she's not the busiest Miss Indian Nations ever, she's got to be very close.
“If you want to go to school, if you have an artistic ability or talent, don’t be afraid to keep on going," Thinn said in the UTTC press release. "It’s time that young people step into the roles of leadership and prepare to become leaders."
Evereta Thinn is leading by example.