April 21st, 2015 Last Updated on: April 21st, 2015
by Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor
Ne nanahniha Onsoquah, ne Miss Indian World 2014-2015, ne Sosoni Bannite, Kickapoo, and Prairie Band Potawatomi, ne Fort Hall, Idaho naite, tsaan dia neesungahk. Greetings in my Shoshone language! My name is Taylor Christianna Thomas, I am the reining Miss Indian World 2014-2015, and my Indian name is “How The Elk Walks.” I am Shoshone-Bannock, Kickapoo, and Prairie Band Potawatomi. I am from the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Southeast Idaho and I am feeling wonderful! I am the daughter of Wendy Farmer, Shoshone-Bannock of Idaho and Jason Thomas Kickapoo and Potawatomi of Kansas, and younger siblings Joi Thomas, Myke Moore, Keith Moore, Tyler Moore, Tiara Thomas, Angelina Thomas, and Aubrey Thomas. My maternal grandparents are the late Iva Lee Osborne and Joseph Farmer of Idaho; and my paternal grandparents are John (Ruth) Thomas and Bernadette Masqua Thomas of Kansas.
My year has come to end, as I invite you all to the Gathering of Nations Powwow on April 24th and 25th in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On Saturday April 25th I will be crowning the new international titleholder Miss Indian World 2015-2016. The title Miss Indian World has been a blessing, and more than I have ever dreamed of! Having the opportunity to represent, travel, and learn has been an amazing life changing experience. I had two goals at the beginning of my reign and they were to travel to Canada, and meet President Barack Obama.
As Miss Indian World my platform was “Indian Pride,” more specifically my message was; “We all have a purpose, everyone is gifted with strength and medicine to share, and to contribute to the world. To the youth, we are not leaders of tomorrow, but we are leaders of today. To all young women, we are capable of changing, and influencing our communities as leaders. Follow your dreams and become the inspiration you seek in the world.” I shared these messages as often as possible throughout my reign, as the message is close to my heart.
Some of the greatest highlights of my Miss Indian World journey have been meeting President Barack Obama in January at his speech in Boise, Idaho. After being picked out of the crowd I had the opportunity to meet him, get a picture, and a brief conversation. I mentioned to him that he was my late grandmother Iva Lee’s favorite president, and that my family had voted for him both times. President Obama asked about the title Miss Indian World, and he said it was an honor to meet me, to say thank you to my grandma for her support, and that he expected many great things from me in the future. My year was filled with many amazing experiences, and actually historical ones as well. Idaho Representative Michael K. Simpson recognized me on Congressional Record of The 113th Congress, Second Session on April 30th, 2014. Congressmen Simpson congratulated me on being crowned Miss Indian World, and for being an ambassador for Idaho, and the Shoshone-Bannock tribes. I am the first Miss Indian World to be recognized on Congressional Record, and the second Shoshone-Bannock tribal member, as well as the first woman, and the only living Shoshone-Bannock tribal member to be recognized on Congressional Record. I also spoke at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Youth Honoring Luncheon, the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) conference, the Northwest Intertribal Youth Conference (NIYC), where I had a session dedicated to Women’s Leadership, and Youth Leadership. I also rode in a canoe for the first time attending the Salmon Ceremony with the Tulalip people, and I rode horses in the Comanche Fair, the Shoshone-Bannock Festival, and the Pendleton Round Up parades. I enjoyed speaking at, and attending conferences, powwows, and gatherings in Idaho, Utah, California, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
Being crowned Miss Indian World has been a dream come true, and has provided me with endless opportunities for the future. I only smile when I look back on my travels, and thinking about the new wonderful friends I have made, and the amazing memories I have with my family, and friends. I am very blessed to have accomplished the two goals I set out to for myself by traveling to Canada twice, and meeting President Barack Obama. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned throughout my reign is to always acknowledge everyone that I meet, and to attend as many functions as possible, no matter the size, and to always do it with a smile. Going to powwows, and other events gave me the chance to interact with large groups of people, and lots of time for meeting people one on one. We all breathe the same air, and drink the same water. Being humble is a powerful lesson I will continue to learn and practice. We all face some of the same issues, language loss, identity loss, education, and opportunities. Indian Country is a beautiful place, and through all of our struggles we may face, we still have so many bright lights shinning throughout Indian Country. Whether you come from a small reservation, or an Indian Community in the cities we all matter, and we all must continue helping one another.
Last and most importantly, thank you so much to my beautiful mother for believing in all my dreams, and ambitions within my heart, I am entirely blessed to have you as my mother, friend, and greatest influence in my life. Thank you to my family for always rallying, and being there to support me when I needed you the most. Thank you to my Shoshone-Bannock tribes, the Fort Hall Business Council, and the Kickapoo tribes for being a strong supporting foundation for me throughout my reign. Thank you to the Gathering of Nations Powwow Committee, and especially Melonie Matthews. Thank you to all my sisters out there for being leaders, you all shine so bright, beautiful and are full of smiles! Thank you to all the friends I have made throughout my travels! It has been an honor to serve each and every one of you as Miss Indian World. I am 22 years old, and a political science student at Idaho State University, where I have taken off this last school year to fulfill my duties as Miss Indian World. I will always continue on with my education, my lifelong duties of being there for the people, and helping wherever I can. I pray I served you all well. U’se (thank you).
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