Niagara Rockbridge crowned Miss Navajo Nation 2021-2022; Shandiin Hiosik Yazzie named first runner-up
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — A new Miss Navajo Nation was crowned Sept. 12 in Window Rock, Arizona after a week-long pageant.
Niagara Rockbridge of Tselani/Cottonwood and Pinon was crowned Miss Navajo Nation 2021-22 during a live virtual coronation ceremony at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock.
Rockbridge was crowned by former Miss Navajo Nation 2019-2021 Shaandiin Parrish, who served as Miss Navajo for two years after the 2020 pageant was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rockbridge is Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House), born for Hashk’ąą hadzohi (Yucca Fruit-Strung-Out-In-A-Line), her maternal grandparents are Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan), and her paternal grandparents are Tó’áhani (Near the Water Clan). Her parents are Deborah and Gary Rockbridge.
Shandiin Hiosik Yazzie, of St. Michaels, Arizona, was honored as the Miss Navajo Nation 2021-2022 first runner-up. Oshkaillah Lakota IronShell, of St. Michaels, Arizona, was also recognized as the second runner-up.
Present at the crowning was Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, First Lady Phefelia Nez, Second Lady Dottie Lizer, and Chief Justice JoAnn B. Jayne.
Nez congratulated each of the the three contestants for completing what he said is the most prestigious cultural pageant in the world.
“They all showed compassion, love, and the teaching of T’áá Hwó Ají Téego, or self-reliance and self-determination, during the week,” Nez said. “We appreciate each of them for their bravery and confidence in sharing their values, beliefs, and teachings.”
Nez went on to congratulate Rockbridge, her family, and everyone who supported her through the competition.
“We are confident that you will serve and represent our Diné people with great honor, strength, and compassion,” he said. “We also congratulate the communities of Tselani/Cottonwood and Pinon, Arizona, for raising a strong and resilient young Diné woman, Niagara Rockbridge.”
During the week of the pageant, contestants competed in the following categories: sheep butchering contest, traditional foods competition, essay, business and traditional knowledge interview, and traditional and contemporary skills and talents competition.
The Navajo Nation First Lady commended contestants and their families for participating in the pageant and recognized Parrish for her time and efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They all earned the title,” she said.
“Most importantly, we appreciate Shaandiin Parrish for her outstanding service for two years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she served as Miss Navajo Nation for two years. She was on the frontlines during the height of the pandemic, helping to get food, water, and other essential supplies to families in each of the 110 chapters on the Navajo Nation. She also spent much of her time visiting and encouraging elders and sharing her knowledge with our youth about elders’ teachings.”
Parrish is currently enrolled with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. She anticipates graduating with a master’s degree in May 2022. She will also return to her work with the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office.
“On behalf of the Navajo Nation, we honor and thank Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish, her family, and everyone who provided support and encouragement during her reign. We wish her the very best and continued success as she pursues the next milestone in her educational endeavors,” Nez said. “Thank you for all of the wonderful work and contributions to our Navajo people. May you be blessed many times in return. Ahe’hee.”
“Shaandiin has been heartwarming and provided hope for many families, children, and elders during the pandemic. Her smile, love, and faith shined on the frontlines. She will always be a leader to the Navajo Nation. We pray for her success and health,” said Vice President Myron Lizer.
During the coronation ceremony, the Office of Miss Navajo Nation and the Office of the President and Vice President also unveiled the new Miss Navajo Nation crown, made by Navajo silversmith Matthew Charley, of Bread Springs, New Mexico.
The crown was designed to signify the resiliency and strength of a Diné woman. It is deep stamped and inlaid with white shell and turquoise.
Information provided by the Office of the President and Vice President