GRIC Youth Hosts Virtual Presentation with Former Miss Indian World

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


Former Miss Indian World (MIW) 2019-2021 Cheyenne “Eete” Kippenberger shared her extraordinary life journey during a presentation for youth hosted by the Akimel O’otham/ Pee-Posh Youth Council on Sunday, May 2. 


Cheyenne Kippenberger is from the Seminole Tribe of Florida. She served as Miss Indian World for two years, a first for a titleholder. She officially ended her reign on Saturday, April 24 but continues to pursue working with Native youth around the country. 


Kippenberger’s presentation recounted her struggles with her mental health growing up while overcoming numerous challenges in pursuing her dreams. The presentation provided youth a chance to dialogue as a group with Kippenberger about her experiences. Kippenberger also shared how she was able to persevere through therapy and counseling in order for her to find balance and continue to build upon her success.  


“I think mental health is extremely important to the general health of all of our communities, and I think we should normalize the conversations about it and destigmatize the negative connotations about mental health,” said Kippenberger. 


Kippenberger said the event was “really awesome” as everyone could still connect as if it were an in-person event despite being held over Zoom. Furthermore, she feels it is a win when everyone in the presentation participates and learns something new. Part of Kippenberger’s presentation also highlighted “generational trauma” found among tribal communities that can continue with our youth without knowing it.


AOPPYC President Susanna Osife found many takeaways from the presentation and enjoyed everything that Kippenberger shared. “As a youth, it is one thing to be told how to get better, but it is another thing to go through that experience and not know which road to take. And hearing others share their own story of ups and downs, we learn that this is something that every single person goes through,” said Osife. 


Jada Young enjoyed the presentation and said, “I feel presentations are crucial for native youth because some teenagers and even kids might feel like they are the only ones dealing with these problems. And no one should have to be in this deep dark hole wondering what is wrong with them and having no one to help them.” 


Closing out the presentation, Kippenberger encouraged all the youth and said, “You all have the power to change your community, you don’t have to be MIW, part of the government, some prominent figure, just being a Community member using language, culture, art for example, and I encourage everyone to explore that idea.”