University of Arkansas senior Sunday Plumb, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, was named the new Miss Cherokee at a leadership competition held Saturday, August 23 at Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Tahlequah.
Plumb, 21, receives a $3,000 scholarship and for the next year will represent the Cherokee Nation as a goodwill ambassador to promote the government, history, language and culture of the Cherokee people.
Plumb, the daughter of Loyal and Susan Plumb, competed against five young women for the crown. The Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition judged contestants on their use of the Cherokee language, cultural and platform presentations, and impromptu interviews.
“It was such an honor to compete with all of these women. I truly believe every single one of them would be an awesome candidate, but I’m really excited I won,” Plumb said after being crowned. “It’s such an awesome feeling to be able to represent the Cherokee Nation as Miss Cherokee.”
Plumb is studying Animal Science at the University of Arkansas. She is a member of the Native American Student Association and volunteers for Girls Scouts of America. She enjoys gathering traditional foods, shooting blow guns, weaving baskets and making Cherokee tear dresses.
For her cultural presentation, Plumb performed a detailed explanation on the history and cultural significance of the tear dress. Her platform tackled the issue of low graduation and retention rates of Native Americans in college compared to other ethnicities. She wants to start a program that gives current Cherokee college students the ability to speak to high school juniors and seniors about what they can expect in a college environment, both socially and academically.
For Plumb’s impromptu question, judges asked, “If you could start a project that would change the lives of Cherokee youth, what would it look like?”
“I really want to get started on my Cherokee college retention initiative,” Plumb answered the judges. “I want to start mentoring students as soon as possible, so we can further ensure the academic success of our Cherokee students.”
Plumb was featured on KTUL Channel 8’s Good Day Tulsa and will make a public appearance on August 30 at the State of the Nation Address at the 62nd Cherokee National Holiday this Labor Day weekend.
Miss Cherokee first runner-up was Ja-Li-Si Pittman, 20, of Tahlequah, who earned a $2,000 scholarship. Second runner-up was Nina Ashley Hopton, 22, of Salina, who earned a $1,000 scholarship.