Tiny dancer

Diné fancy shawl dancer bests older girls

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Neveah Jishie, 12, competes in the fancy shawl competition at the Gathering of Nations last weekend.


Of the handful of girls competing in the Teen Girls Fancy Shawl Special at the Gathering of Nations Powwow, one of them looked quite a bit younger than the rest – because she is.

Neveah Jishie is only 12, while the other girls were already in high school. So, she wasn’t expecting to place. “It’s for teens and I’m only 12,” she said. “They’re like 16, 17.”

After all the dancers completed their performance the consolation prize winners were announced and Neveah wasn’t one of them. The announcer began to call the third place winner before unexpectedly announcing there was a three-way tie. Naveah was clearly shocked when the announcement was made. Her eyes were wide and her jaw dropped. The top three dancers would have to dance one more time to determine who the winner would be.

Neveah took her place out on the arena floor one more time and it would win her a third place prize of a star quilt and cash. She would also take home third place in the Junior Girls Fancy Shawl. Neveah also competed in the Junior Girls Jingle but didn’t place.

The Gathering of Nations is Neveah’s Super Bowl. “When I come here it’s like a championship for me,” she said. “I was nervous during the contests and during the special. “When I dance at local, community powwows it’s a lot smaller than this,” she said.

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Categories: People

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah