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If someone asked me if I would do it all over again ...I would say no. Why? I would not meet the same group of girls that I did during my journey to Albuquerue. Some were shy, some quiet or funny but most importantly all were very friendly, and that is what made the 1998 Miss Indian World Contestants a great group of girls.
One by one the contestants arrived at the Albuquerue Convention Centre to register. Everyone was excited, nervous and happy. After we registered and handed in our tickets, we had a chance to meet each other. There were 26 of us from many different nations.
I was soon joined with a girl from Guatemala named Elsa. Elsa was the first of our southern neighbours to compete for this title. She was sweet, friendly, talented and spoke four languages: Spanish, English, French and Mayan, her native tongue.
The Miss Indian World competition challenges the contestants' skills in public speaking, dance and traditional knowledge. After registration, the Committee began the first competition. Public speaking was one of the segments that we could not prepare for. We each found a partner and had five minutes to get to know each other. We then had one minute to introduce our partner to the audience.
I thought this would not be difficult because I am very used to speaking in public. However once it was my turn to introduce my partner I never thought I could feel so nervous. My knees and legs were shaking. I also felt my voice shaking. I soon found out that it is not about being scared to talk in public but the idea of competition. All the girls did a good job. The award was given to Farren Penny from Lapawai, Idaho.
Our second competition of the day was the personal interview. Each contestant only had 10 minutes to answer the questions the judges asked. We were timed to the minute. The judges were looking for a balance between being rooted in traditional culture and being educated. The winner of this category was Nonabah Sam from Brimhall, New Mexico.
We started Day Two early in preparation for the traditional presentation we were to make later that evening in front of an auditorium full of people. I must say that this day was very long.
I, like the others, was very nervous. My mom told me that I should not look at it as a
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Day three was the beginning of the Gathering of Nations Powwow. I was finally going to dance in the Gathering. We danced in with at least 1,500 dancers; the "Pit" was packed. It was a great feeling.
After the second grand entry, the dance competition for Miss Indian World began. I had no idea how the judges were going to choose a winner because there were many different dancing styles. There was the northern and southern straight traditional, fancy dance (my style), jingle and many other types. It really was colourful. The winner of this category was Sunny Rose Yellow Mule from Bernalillo, New Mexico who also won Miss Congeniality.
After the very last grand entry, the Miss Indian World Title was awarded. This title went to April Whittemore from Fayetteville, North Caroline. Sunny Rose Yellow Mule took First Runner-Up and Second Runner-Up went to Rose Johnson.
Although I did not win any awards, I came home a winner. I had the opportunity to meet 25 wonderful girls and I made numerous friends. To be a participant of Miss Indian World was an exciting opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience.