Sarah Ortegon was crowned Miss Native American 2013.

Sarah Ortegon was crowned Miss Native American 2013.

Nine Women Vie for 2014-2015 Miss Native American Crown

This year, nine talented native women are vying for the title of Miss Native American 2014-2015. This 3rd annual competition begins tonight at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona.

Last year, Sarah Ortegon, the 2013 reigning Miss Native American, was also one of nine contestants competing for the title. She told the Denver Post that she was surprised to win, and wanted to work to change things for women in Native communities.

"It's really to empower Native American women and youth and promote growth within yourself," Ortegon said last year. "I'm looking forward to representing the title in the best way that I can and traveling and helping others."

The paegant’s mission is to promote, address, support, and collaborate in areas of continuing education, domestic violence, alcohol & drugs, suicide prevention, teenage pregnancy, youth violence, AIDS prevention, diabetes prevention and intervention in urban and Native Americans communities.

The owner of the MNAUSA Organization is Tashina Atine, a member of the Diné (Navajo) nation. Atine, originally from Provo, Utah, currently resides in Phoenix. She said in a news release that her passion is to promote and encourage young Native American females to create a strong relationship with their communities, locally and nationwide.

RELATED: Who Are the 23 Women Vying for Miss Indian World?

The nine women vying for this year’s title are:

* Mallory Barlow – Bishop Paiute Tribe

* Inikki Begay – Navajo (Dine')

* Ashley Bitselley – Navajo (Dine')

* Taylor Harvey – Navajo (Dine')

* Nicole Johnny – Navajo (Dine')

* Malanie Palizote – White Mountain Apache

* Kendra Redhouse – Navajo (Dine')

* Lynnelle Washburn – Navajo (Dine')

* April Yazza – Zuni Pueblo/Navajo (Dine)'

Tickets to this year’s event are now on sale or at the Tempe Center for the Arts box office. Tickets are $15.00 for all ages, seating is general admission, and our doors will open to the public at 5:00 PM (MST).

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