Founder: Miss Utah Navajo pageant was way to regain pride

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyi’ Bureau

MONTEZUMA CREEK, Utah, Sept. 18, 2014

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(Times photo — Cindy Yurth)

Past holders of the Miss Utah Navajo crown listen as Clyde Benally, founder of the pageant, tells what motivated him to stage a pageant for Utah Navajos. The pageant dates to 1979.

You might say the Miss Utah Navajo pageant started with a 7th-grade history textbook.

Growing up in the isolated Utah section of the reservation, where they rarely saw a bilagáana, it had never occurred to Clyde Benally to be embarrassed about his culture. He strove hard to be a good, balanced person in the Navajo way, and his grandmother always told him there was a special pride in being a Utah Navajo, because they never surrendered to the Long Walk.

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