The remaining royalty for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was chosen during the 99th Cherokee Indian Fair. The titles of Little Miss Cherokee, Junior Miss Cherokee and Teen Miss Cherokee were chosen during the event.
“The Cherokee Pageant Board would like to congratulate Jade Ledford, Deliah Esquivel, Emma Stamper and Shakyra Bottchenbaugh for winning the Little Miss, Junior Miss and Teen Miss Pageants during the 99th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair,” the Pageant Board said. “These four young ladies will be representing the Eastern Band of Cherokee at many events both in Cherokee and in our surrounding communities over the next year. The Pageant Board encourages everyone to congratulate these young ladies and support them during their reign. We would also like to thank the many contestants that came out for this year’s pageants and wish you the best of luck in future years.”
Explanation from Pageant Board regarding Little Miss Cherokee Pageant
As everyone is probably aware by now the Eastern Band has four new Princesses after last week’s Fall Festival. For the first time in Eastern Band history we have two Little Miss Cherokees, and everyone has questions as to why this is the case this year. In an effort to dispel some rumors the Pageant Board would like to offer an explanation.
The Pageant Board has requested the help of Internal Audit to tally and validate our scores for the Little Miss, Junior Miss and Teen Miss Pageants for the past three years. This year our auditors that were assisting made an error when recording the scores.
Sharon Blankenship, director of Internal Audit, stated “It was simply human error. The Office of Internal Audit takes full responsibility for this situation and apologizes to all involved. When I became aware of the situation I immediately contacted the Pageant Board and worked diligently with them as they came to a resolution that was in the best interest of the children involved”.
Given the sensitive nature of this issue, and since it is dealing with young children, the Pageant Board will not be delving into the details of this issue. But after many discussions and meetings regarding this issue, it was decided to let both young girls serve as Little Miss Cherokee. There are safeguards in place to prevent two girls holding the title simultaneously, but this error was not discovered until Thursday, the day after the crowning of the Little Miss.
All of our Little Miss Contestants did a wonderful job, especially these two young ladies.
Both of these young ladies are deserving of this title and the Pageant Board is pleased that the Eastern Band will have both of these girls representing our Tribe as Little Miss Cherokee.
The Pageant Board appreciates all the contestants’ parents for allowing them to participate in the Little Miss Pageants, and we sincerely hope we have as many or more contestants next year. Any questions or concerns regarding this matter or the pageants can be directed to Mollie Grant; she can be contacted at (828) 554-6434.