Tonalea hosts Native American Festival Princess Pageant

Newly-crowned Senior Division Princess Ilana Henderson (left) and Junior Division Princess Cheyenne Peterman (right) celebrate their new titles (Photo by Christopher Curley).

Newly-crowned Senior Division Princess Ilana Henderson (left) and Junior Division Princess Cheyenne Peterman (right) celebrate their new titles (Photo by Christopher Curley).

TONALEA-On Feb. 28, Tonalea School hosted the Western Navajo Agency Native American Festival 2007 Princess Pageant. Event coordinator Margaret Tanner and staff spent the week preparing the Wildcat gymnasium for this year's pageantry.

While judges and participants began arriving, Tonalea staff and volunteers began welcoming spectators into the event. Their school princesses represented area schools including Tuba City Boarding School, Kayenta Community School, Chilchinbeto Community School, Kaibeto Boarding School, Naatsisaan Community School, and Rough Rock School.

This year, the junior and senior divisions competing for this year's crown demonstrated a variation of modern and traditional talent. The Native American Festival was sponsored by area schools and comprised of a week full of festivities including a pageant, song and dance, and powwow.

At the end the pageant day, after tallying all scores, Cheyenne Peterman from Kayenta was crowned 2007 Miss Junior Western Navajo Agency Native American Festival Princess.

Peterman, a sixth-grader from Kayenta Community School said she was "excited" about the win.

She stated that she would like to move on to the next level and compete at other pageants. Cheyenne is the daughter of Anthony and Corinne Peterman.

In the senior division competition, Ilana Henderson was crowned 2007 Miss Western Navajo Agency Native American Festival Princess.

When asked about her crown, she said, "It was a shock and I was surprised." This was Henderson's first entry at any level of pageant competition. Her sister former 2006-07 Miss Greyhills Larue Henderson was on hand to support her sister's accomplishment. Larue said, "I am happy for her."

Ilana is a seventh-grader at Tuba City Boarding School. Her parents are Virgil and Elrina Henderson of Tuba City.

In addition to these exciting wins, several Tonalea School students won in their respective categories at the Native American Festival Powwow held March 8 at Kayenta Community School.

Kindergartener Caryssa Tohannie placed first in the Jingle Dress competition. Fifth-grader, Lakota Bearshield won the junior division in the Northern Traditional Dance; sixth-grader Chanell Butler won the junior division Southern/ Northern Cloth Dance and Calstina Tohannie placed third in the senior Jingle Dress competition. Tohannie is the 2006-07 reigning Miss Tonalea.

All the first place winners in this year's Western Navajo Agency Powwow will travel to Shiprock, N. M. to attend the Navajo Area Native Festival. The date of this powwow has yet to be determined.

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