Miss Indian Arizona Scholarship Pageant Returns In-Person
October 21, 2022
At the Miss Indian Arizona Association’s 61st annual Miss Indian Arizona Scholarship Program at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Oct. 8, Sistine Lewis from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community received the highest scores for the pageant and won the title of Miss Indian Arizona 2022-23.
Lehua Lani Dosela from the Gila River Indian Community will serve as First Attendant and Emile Eich from the Navajo Nation will serve as Second Attendant.
“It was a lot of hard work, but we appreciate all the love and support from you all,” Lewis said. Her platform is to promote culture among the youth.
Dosela, District 6, shared that her platform also promotes traditions, language and culture. Lt. Gov. Monica Antone attended the program, provided a blessing for the event and served as Dosela’s escort throughout the pageant.
“The experience was great; I got to meet amazing girls and overall enjoyed being up on stage,” said Dosela.
A student at Mesa Community College, Dosela is working toward an associate’s degree in fire science and plans to attend Arizona State University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in emergency management. He goal is to become a fire fighter and educate Community youth on fire safety.
The Miss Indian Arizona program serves to bring the rich history and culture of Arizona’s tribes to the forefront and to enhance career opportunities and produce role models who exemplify positive Native American values, according to its website.
Eight young women from across the state competed for the title of Miss Indian Arizona under the theme “Celebrating Indigenous Resilience.”
Participants included Cheyanne Ruth Begay, Navajo Nation; Kaitlyn Kaylee Dillion, San Carlos Apache Tribe; Lehua Lani Dosela, Gila River Indian Community; Emile Eich, Navajo Nation; Manderee Jose, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community; Sistine Lewis, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community; Maria Pablo, Tohono O’odham Nation; and Morgan Angel Smith, San Carlos Apache Tribe.
Paul Russell, vice president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, served as master of ceremonies.
The pageant began with an introduction from Alyse Marrietta, outgoing Miss Indian Arizona 2021-22, who also sang the national anthem.
“Representing the 22 tribes of Arizona has been my life’s greatest honor,” said Marrietta in her farewell address. “Thank you for allowing me to share my platform of self-care and to learn about the beautiful cultures of our Indigenous people.”
GRIC member Ryan Miguel, District 1, performed two traditional songs for the entertainment portion of the program.
Contestants participate in six categories: interview, talent (contemporary or traditional), evening gown, traditional dress, oral presentation and personal interviews.
This year the association awarded over $10,000 in scholarship funds to the winners in the following categories: People’s Choice – Maria Pablo, Miss Congeniality – Kaitlyn Dillion, Essay Award – Lehua Dosela, Community Service Award – Cheyanne Begay, Evening Wear – Emile Eich, Talent Award – Lehua Dosela.