Rachel Evangelisto is the first-ever Indigenous Miss Minnesota.
She is from the Hunkpapa Standing Rock Lakota Sioux. She has been accepted into the Native American Law & Sovereignty program at Mitchell Hamline School of Law as a Native Justice Fellow.
This week she competed in the Miss American pageant at the Mohegan Sun Casino. At the pageant, she wore a dress designed by Red Berry Woman.
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Háƞ Mitákuyapi ye! Iyúškiƞyan wačhíyake ye. Wašíču iá “Rachel” emákiyapi ye. Dakhóta čhažé bduhé šni. Oyate mithawa kiƞ hunkphpha ewíčhakiyapi ye.
Hello, my relatives! I greet you with a happy heart and welcome you to my corner of the world. My name is Rachel Lane Evangelisto, and I’m an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Nation. I’m a proud Lakota woman and am honored to be the 86th Miss Minnesota.
From Miss Minnesota.org:
Rachel grew up watching the Miss America competition and wanted to emulate the empowered women she saw on television. She stepped on stage for her first pageant at the age of 13 and has since been awarded over $23,000 in scholarships. In addition, she is proud to have graduated debt-free with the help of the Miss America Organization.
Rachel came to Minnesota to pursue her undergraduate degree. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, with a degree in Political Science and an emphasis on Law. She has been accepted to Mitchell Hamline Law School where she hopes to obtain a Juris Doctorate in Tribal Law.
Currently, Rachel works as an Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Guardian ad Litem for the ICWA Division of Minnesota and is an enrolled member of the Húŋkpapȟa Standing Rock Sioux tribe and is proud to represent the Winona community as it has a rich Indigenous history.As Miss Minnesota, Rachel will spend her time serving the state of Minnesota through her Social Impact Initiative, “Celebrating Culture & Driving Diversity.” In Minnesota, Native Americans account for 1.7% of the population yet makeup 26% of all child protection and foster care cases – the highest disproportional rate of any state in the nation. Similarly, Native American children are 16x more likely to be put into out-of-home placements than other children. For the eleven Indigenous Nations of Minnesota, this is a dire issue to address in our state and communities.
Rachel puts community & and culture at the heart of everything she does. Throughout her service, she will set out to share authentic Indigenous culture, raise awareness around the Indian Child Welfare Act, and create cultural connection programs to support Indigenous youth in Minnesota involved in child protection and foster care cases.
Rachel will advocate for her Social Impact Initiative, Celebrating Culture & Driving Diversity during her year of service. Rachel performed an exciting talent of Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and was crowned as the 86th Miss Minnesota on June 17th, 2022 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN.
Featured image from Miss American Minnesota Instagram.