ST. GEORGE — Taddrena Joe, a sophomore majoring in biology, was named the winner of the 22nd annual Miss Native Dixie State University Pageant Wednesday evening.
Joe beat five other DSU students for the crown, which came with a $1,000 scholarship prize.
Joe is a native of Dennehotso, Arizona, and graduated from Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona, in 2016.
“I was ecstatic to win Miss Native Dixie,” Joe told St. George News. “All the contestants did such an extraordinary job!”
“It was a great experience to have again,” Joe said. “The last time I held a title was back when I was in second grade at Dennehotso Boarding School. I’m very thankful for having the opportunity to show my talents to my family, friends and community.”
On her pageant application, Joe expressed her future goal by writing the following in the Diné, or Navajo, language: “Wóodahoó woltigíí baa’hósha,” which translates into “going and getting a higher education.”
“With every breath, this has been my motivation for attaining a bachelor’s of science in biology,” Joe added. “I wish to acquire this degree to go onto a physician’s assistant program to come back to my home, the Navajo Reservation, and help my people.”
Pageant contestants were evaluated by a panel of judges in several categories, including modern talent, traditional talent, academic achievement, service and involvement, traditional evening wear, personal essay, private interview and an on-stage question.
Mike Nelson, DSU’s outreach coordinator for the DSU Multicultural and Inclusion Center, said Joe and first attendant LaChrisa Maloney will serve as ambassadors for the Native American population at Dixie State University during the 2017-2018 school year.
One of their main roles will be “influencing and effectively encouraging our Native American community here at Dixie State University to finish their higher education, as well as their own,” Nelson said.
“Both women are able to live in two worlds by practicing traditional values by incorporating them into the contemporary society in which they live,” Nelson added. “Both also represent womanhood and fulfill the role of ‘grandmother, mother, aunt and sister’ to the Native American people, and (each) is able to speak as a leader, teacher, counselor, adviser and friend.”
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