By DAWN ARNEACH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Tonya Carroll, 25, was crowned Miss Cherokee on Saturday Oct. 2 at the Cultural Arts Center in the Cherokee Central Schools. Cristin Jones, 18, was named second runner-up and Kelly Murphy, 20, was named first runner-up.
Carroll is the daughter of Jan Smith and the late Kermit Carroll. She is from the Birdtown Community and holds a Masters degree in History from Western Carolina University. She is currently the outreach coordinator for the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.
The evening began with Master of Ceremonies Bob Caldwell welcoming everyone to the evening’s festivities followed by the presentation of colors by the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post #143.
Andrea Saunooke, an EBCI tribal member, performed “How great thou art” and the opening and closing Prayer were said by Mrs. Marie Junaluska, Tribal Council Cherokee Language Interpreter.
The ladies competed Saturday in three different categories: Casual Dress, Traditional Dress and each gave a three minute speech on a topic of their own choosing.
Carroll spoke about “What it means to be Tsalagi”. Jones spoke about “The Importance of Elders in the Tribe” and Murphy told the crowd how working at the New Kituwah Academy has impacted her life.
In between the different sets of competitions, Saunooke sang songs for the audience.
Miss Cherokee 2009 Rachel Hicks welcomed everyone to the evening’s events and also gave her farewell speech. She talked about the wonderful year she had as Miss Cherokee representing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians across the country as well as in Germany.
Principal Chief Michell Hicks welcomed everyone to the pageant and said how proud he is of the ladies that are competing. He also welcomed the visiting Choctaw Royalty.
The ladies each performed their talent portion for the evening: Carroll performed the Buffalo dance, Jones sang “One Drop of Blood” in the Cherokee language and Murphy performed the Knee Deep dance.
Photo gallery of event: