June 7th, 2015 Last Updated on: June 7th, 2015
Interview by Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor
DK: Congratulations! We're thrilled to visit with Miss Coeur D'Alene! Please introduce yourself to us?
KA: My name is Kyra Antone I am Coeur D' Alene and Tohono O' Odham! I am 18 years old and I will be attending a 4-year university this Fall. I am the Valedictorian of the class of 2015 at WHS and ASB president, I participate in sports year-round. I enjoy various sports, powwows, stickgames and riding horses.
DK: Wonderful! Sounds like you are involved in a truly positive lifestyle! How does your tribal culture help you to stay on a good path?
KA: I am Coeur d' Alene on my mother’s side and Tohono O' Odham on my father’s side. My tribes are amazing. I am blessed to grow up with Northern and Southern traditions, both of which are very unique and beautiful. My tribes provide an amazing support system for our youth, it has impacted my life enormously, they both promote tradition, living a drug and alcohol free life, and provide safe and fun activities for all youth on the reservation. I am lucky to be a part of both tribes.
DK: Yes, you are blessed to have such a bond with both tribes! What are some of the other things that you feel passionate about?
KA: I enjoy horseback riding which brings me back to the more traditional days. I also love attending powwows on the weekends. During the summer, I continue to learn the O' odham language that my grandparents share with me, every time we sit at the table my sister and I can only speak the language, which I think is a great learning experience! I am so grateful that my teachers are my grandparents.
DK: Language is definitely a powerful part of our people's journey! Thanks for sharing the lessons you are learning from your Elders! As we talk about culture, do you find that powwows are a valuable part of your Native path?
KA: Yes, I do attend powwows. I have been dancing ever since I could remember, the day I could walk I suppose. My mother and aunt took my sister, I and our cousin too many powwows while growing up. We still attend to them to this day. Powwows are a big part of my life; they have brought me closer with the beauty of my culture. My heart would only continue to be sane so long as the drum and dancers remain in my life.
DK: We sure do love Powwows around here…obviously! Why do you think our Native People continue to enter the Circle generation after generation?
KA: Powwows are a way to keep the Native people strong and unified. We as a people get to gather together and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of our own culture and share it with those we love.
DK: Well, I can think of one other tradition that is important in your life as well! How did you feel when you were crowned?
KA: I was ecstatic. I had to leave Arizona early, it was hard decision but my grandparents encouraged me to come back to Idaho so that I could run for Miss Coeur D' Alene. It was hard leaving them but as soon as my mother sent them the news that I won the title, I received a picture from them stating how proud they were, it brought me to tears. I have always wanted to represent my people, and encourage young girls to take part in their culture and take on the leadership role. I hope to be a good role model to all girls across Indian Country. My life hasn't changed much. I am still an 18 year old girl attending high school and doing the best I can to represent my people.
DK: As you represent your people with grace and poise, what are some of your favorite experiences so far?
KA: I have attended many different powwows and events. My favorite memory however is anytime that I get to travel with Northstar, Little Miss Coeur d' Alene. She is a joy! I kid you not; she has the most outgoing personality and can always make you smile. I am thankful to have shared every experience with her. We attended the Gathering of Nations powwow in Albuquerque New Mexico this past April, after a day of taking pictures with many different princesses and spectators, the lil princess and I went back to our room watched “Into the Storm,” ordered pizza and played Minecraft. We definitely have a wonderful time together wherever we go!
DK: Delightful! You're actually acting as a mentor to a younger Native girl! That's beautiful! What do you have to share with other Native youth who look up to you?
KA: To get involved in your culture, remain drug and alcohol free and end bullying. I have talked to a lot of my friends who aren't familiar with the powwow life and they are considering hitting the powwow trail this year sometime, which I am really excited about. I also had a birthday party which included a part where we played powwow music and my friends who didn't attend powwows danced for the chance to win a subway card, I believe it is important to create a fun, safe, drug and alcohol free environment. I chose to do my senior project on bullying. My friends helped me create a short video on the effects bullying has and a solution to end bullying. I presented my project and a power point to an audience of teacher and exceeded standards on my presentation. I was happy that my message was shared and I hope one day, to share my voice on a larger scale.
DK: What is the larger scale you have in mind?
KA: I plan to attend a four year university. I am currently debating on whether to become a pediatric nurse or a wild life biologist. Once I finish college, I hope to move back to the reservation to share my newly found knowledge with my people. My goal right now is to inspire the younger generation to come off of the reservation and get a good education, explore the world, and share our culture with others, since such a beautiful culture deserves to be shared.
DK: What are some of the lessons and advice you've learned from your culture and Elders?
KA: The best advice that I have ever received was when I was younger, my mother said “Do not judge others because you do not know of their background, where they came from, or what they have been through.” This has caused me to keep an open mind about others. When some people came off as mean, I did not grow angry I only grew sad for I didn't know what they have gone through. This has lead me to become patient. I am a firm believer that all people are born innocent and for reasons unknown they have grown to be the way they are, and I hope one day they find peace within their own heart. Everyone deserves to be happy! If someone comes off mean, do not retaliate, count to 10 and smile, perhaps they are just having a rough day and need a hug!
DK: Thank you so much!
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