Jr. Miss White Mountain Apache: A Legacy of Excellence in UNITY  – UNITY, Inc.

Jr. Miss White Mountain Apache: A Legacy of Excellence in UNITY 

The title of Jr Miss White Mountain Apache was created in 2006 but has been consistent since 2008. It was the first time our tribe would have a representative between the ages of 13 to 17. In 2008, there were 10 contestants who competed for the title, each young girl representing different parts of the White Mountain Apache reservation.

The beginning of Jr Miss was a rocky one and in-spite of its imperfect beginnings the duties had fallen upon me that year, I focused on why I entered and that was to promote my platform. So, for the first 4 months as the 1st attendant I did just that and after I was announced the new Jr Miss, not much changed besides wearing a crown. That year was Jr Miss’s first appearance at UNITY. The White Mountain Apache tribe had 2 different groups of youth attend the National UNITY conference that year in Reno, Nevada and it would be the year a few of us decided to re-establish our tribe’s youth council. We had seen the impact youth were making in their own communities and were inspired to do the same in ours. When we brought this to attention of Eileen Hill, who would become our youth council advisor, she had given us her full support. We brought our appeal to our Tribal Council to become the official youth council. They had seen our passion to bring youth together in a positive way and approved our request. Since then, the Jr Miss Committee has encouraged the current Jr Miss to take part in the youth council. To be there for the smallest projects to the big events that have happened to our youth council. The committee stresses the importance of education and when a young woman wins the title of Jr Miss she is required to maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout her reign. We believe that education is an important aspect to being a good role model. It shows determination, commitment, adaptability and multitasking. Each one of our Jr Miss title holders were students, some were athletes, members of the Youth Council and participated in local ceremonies. The title of Jr Miss is based on a young girl’s skills and knowledge through a series of competitions. She is judged during interview, evening wear, talent, public speaking and traditional wear.
The Jr Miss committee were influenced by the Miss Indian Arizona pageant. We wish to prepare our young women to seek prestigious titles like Miss Indian Arizona, by teaching them the skills they need to learn. This has been a great way to instill the importance of ambassadorship and to always work toward becoming a better leader. As I think about it now, Jr Miss did have a perfect beginning. It taught young girls to keep promoting and being activist of their platform with or without a crown. To continue being involved despite a title and to remember where you come from.
This year the Jr Miss White Mountain Apache title celebrates its 10th anniversary with a continued legacy of young woman who inspire to be great community leaders throughout their lives.

Jr. Miss White Mountain Apache Pageant
Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 12:00pm
Whiteriver Elementary School
Whiteriver, Arizona

Written by UNITY Alumni Mykhal Mendoza
Jr. Miss White Mountain Apache, 2008
White Mountain Apache Youth Council, 2008-2011