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58th Miss Indian Arizona scholarship pageant to be held in Chandler

(City of Chandler Photo)

PHOENIX – The 58th annual Miss Indian Arizona scholarship pageant will be held Saturday night in Chandler.

The competition is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Chandler Center for the Arts, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

General admission tickets cost $15 plus fees for adults and $5 plus fees for children ages 12 and under.

The theme at this year’s pageant is “Guardians of Tradition in a Changing World.”

“For many of these women, it’s a brand new experience when they go off to continued education and are surrounded by non-natives,” Denise Homer, executive director of the Miss Indian Arizona Association, said in a Chandler press release.

“It’s a big challenge to live in two totally different worlds.”

The first Miss Indian Arizona was a beauty contest held at the Arizona State Fair in 1961, according to the pageant’s website.

It’s now open to women ages 17-24 in high school, college or trade school or who are working and looking to pursue educational opportunities.

This year’s six finalists are Autumn Cooper of the Gila River Indian Community, Audriana Mitchell of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Ki-Ana Reina of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Amy Spotted Wolf of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Kiara Goseyun of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Teya Johnson-Tiger of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

They will be judged in six categories: interview, talent (contemporary or traditional), evening gown, traditional dress, oral presentation and personal interviews.

Each participant will receive an education scholarship, and the winner will serve as ambassador for the state’s tribes as Miss Indian Arizona for the next year.

The event is sponsored by the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, a nonprofit advocacy group for more than 20 tribes.

UPDATE: Mitchell, who is studying communications and organizational management at Mesa Community College, was crowned Miss Arizona during the pageant.

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