"Miss Indian World is one of the most prestigious honors in the Native American and indigenous world and the winner will serve as a role model for all Native Americans,"said Melonie Mathews, coordinator of the Miss Indian World Pageant, held annually at the Gathering of Nations pow wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
And the new Miss Indian World, crowned Saturday, is Kansas Begaye, 24, Diné, from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2011 and is the daughter of Dorothy and Leonard Begaye.
Begaye received the honor out of 16 American Indian women representing their different tribes and traditions who competed in the areas of tribal knowledge, dancing ability, public speaking, and personality assessment. She will travel to many Native and indigenous communities around the world on behalf of the Gathering. As Miss Indian World, she will represent all Native and indigenous people as a cultural goodwill ambassador for one year.
"Begaye will travel the world educating others about tribal and cultural traditions, and bring together Native and indigenous people," said Mathews.
Brittany Clause, 22, from Six Nations, Canada, and a member of Cayuga Nation was named first runner-up at the pageant. She is currently attending Buffalo State University in Buffalo, New York.
Yonenyakenht Jesse Brant, 25, also from Six Nations, Canada, and member of the Mohawk Nation (Turtle Clan) was named second runner-up. She graduated from George Brown College in Toronto, Canada, in 2009.
In the case that Miss Indian World cannot fulfill her responsibilities, the first runner-up will take her place. If the first runner-up is unable to fulfill her duties after having taken over for Miss Indian World, the second runner-up will take her place.