By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Former Miss Cherokee Kristina Hyatt will be among the young women vying for the title of Miss Native American USA during a pageant scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8 in Tempe, Ariz. Hyatt, the daughter of Lavon and Gloria Hyatt, was the 2011 Miss Cherokee and is from the Big Cove Community.
When asked why she decided to run for Miss Native American USA, Hyatt responded, “I want to make a difference, not only for my Tribe, but throughout Indian Country. As a dental hygienist, I help create beautiful, healthy smiles. I want to promote awareness of dental health to Native Americans with a focus on preventing early childhood cavities in young children. I have been working on a couple of projects that can help to improve oral health and decrease dental anxiety.”
Hyatt is a graduate of the dental hygiene program at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College and has a bachelor’s degree from UNC – Asheville.
“The Miss Native American USA Pageant will help me to make connections and open doors of opportunity to share these projects with indigenous people across the nation,” said Hyatt. “If chosen to be the next Miss Native American USA, I will use the crown as a microphone to promote my message about dental health, motivate Native Americans to pursue their dreams, and share the love of God with those around me.”
Hyatt is the first EBCI tribal member to compete in the Pageant. “I hope that in pursuing this opportunity, I will be a role model and inspiration for more young ladies from various tribes to participate.”
She says her time as Miss Cherokee has helped her prepare for this upcoming pageant. “My experience as Miss Cherokee was definitely one that I will never forget and has me feeling very prepared for this pageant. It gave me the opportunity to strengthen my leadership skills and helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking. It gave me confidence that I did not have before. I enjoy being a role model and someone that the young children can look up to.”
The pageant itself will consist of a personal interview, an evening gown competition, a talent competition, a traditional wear competition, and an on-stage question. “I am very excited to be representing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and making my people proud. I can’t wait to meet all of the beautiful and intelligent contestants trying to make a difference. I always enjoy learning about other tribes and meeting new people. It amazes me how supportive my Tribe has been, no matter what goal I set out to achieve. I am very thankful, and I will represent the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians with pride and dignity.”
Past titleholders for Miss Native American USA include: April Yazza (2014-15), Sarah Ortegon (2013-14) and Shaylin Shabi (2012-13).