Gathering of Nations

Diné contestant is first runner-up - for 4th time

(Times Photo - Leigh T. Jimmie)

Dakota Brant, center, Mohawk, of Six Nations Territory, Ontario, Canada, is crowned the 2010 Miss Indian World. Emerald Dahozy, right, Diné, of Window Rock, was first runner-up and second runner-up was Evereta Lee Thinn, left, Diné, of Shonto, Ariz.

By Erny Zah
Navajo Times

ALBUQUERQUE, April 29, 2010

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

For the first time, the Gathering of Nations Powwow was held outdoors this year at the University of New Mexico football field in Albuquerque.

Emerald Dahozy was named first runner-up Saturday night at the Miss Indian World pageant, held during the Gathering of Nations Powwow.

Though the second place finisher normally goes unnoticed in the pageant world, for Dahozy being first runner-up has become almost routine.

This is the fourth time she's earned the title and the second time at this pageant.

The Window Rock native also was first runner-up to Miss Indian World and Miss Indian Arizona in 2008, and was named first runner-up to the Intertribal Ceremonial Queen in 2004.

"I'm always the bridesmaid but never the bride," joked Dahozy, who is Bit'ahnii (Folded Arms Clan), born for Hashk'aa Hadzohó (Yucca Fruit Strung in a Line Clan).

"I was pretty happy with my outcome," she added in reference to the fact she walked away with three trophies in this year's Miss Indian World pageant: best public speaking, best traditional talent, and best personal interview.

Dahozy was one of 26 women competing for the title. Ten of the 26 were Navajo or part Navajo. Two of the three top point scorers were Navajo. Evereta Thinn of Shonto, Ariz., was second runner-up. Thinn, who could not be reached for comment, was first runner-up in the 2009 contest. She was Miss Indian Arizona in 2007 and 2008, edging out Dahozy for the title that year.

Thinn won the award for best dancer in this year's Miss Indian World competition.

Dakota Brant, Mohawk, from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in Ontario, Canada, walked away with the title. The crowning capped five days of competition that included a traditional talent presentation, a dance presentation and other contests.

"I'm glad I was chosen to serve as this ambassador," Brant, 22, said in a press conference shortly after being crowned. She added that she will try to build and maintain relationships with different tribes and tribal people.

She recently graduated from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, with a bachelor's degree in indigenous environmental studies, and hopes to use it to established environmental programs in her community.

Brant said she feels honored to be chosen as an ambassador for Native America and looks to past title-holders with respect, which inspired her to compete for Miss Indian World.

"They were proud Native women. They were proud of their belief systems. When you have a woman who's proud of her culture, her way of life and herself, it really shows. There were 26 other girls that demonstrated that ability from thousands of women in Native America," she said.

For Dahozy, who also competed in 2008, the inspiration to seek the Miss Indian World title came partly from her work as an assistant in On Eagle's Wings, an evangelical program of the Arkansas-based Ron Hutchcraft Ministries Inc. that trains Native youth to save souls for Jesus. The young spiritual warriors are challenged to "maximize their year," and running for Miss Indian World was a way to do that for Dahozy.

Maximizing her year meant driving 22 hours a day before the competition was set to start last Tuesday night. She started in Chicago and went by way of Arkansas to pick up her cat, Bushy, and then it was on to Window Rock. 

"I got an hour of sleep those two days," Dahozy said.

Brant said she hopes to be a good ambassador as Miss Indian World.

"It's a little different common desire to be an ambassador for Indian Country, to be a good role model. I'd like to know that if they see something that I'm doing that is wrong or can be improved, I want to be remembered as the Miss Indian World that was approachable."

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