By TARAN SWIMMER
MISS CHEROKEE 2015-16
Siyo, I want to share with you all some events that I had the honor to attend the month of September.
Sept. 2- 4
I attended the Cherokee Holidays Celebration in Tahlequah, Okla. I had a really good time and was able to meet the new reigning Miss Cherokee, Sky Wildcatt and Junior Miss Cherokee, Lauryn McCoy along with several other royalty at this gathering.
Upon my return home on Sept. 4, I was invited to attend the Apple Festival in Hendersonville and was asked to sing the Cherokee National Anthem and the Orphan Child. I was accompanied by Ogana Swimmer for the Cherokee National Anthem and I also was accompanied by Dvdaya Swimmer for the Orphan Child. I am so blessed to have a family who is always willing to help me out, so a special thank you to Micah and Carrah Swimmer for always letting the babies join me at the events.
Sept. 10 and 11
I traveled to Vonore, Tenn. and took part in the activities at the Sequoyah Birth Place. It was very interesting and I really enjoyed getting to sing with the Snowbird Choir as well as singing the Cherokee National Anthem.
I was very honored to attend and take part in the unveiling of the bronze statue of our very own Charles George at the VA Medical Center in Asheville. This was a spectacular event, and I am so blessed and thankful to have be invited to attend. At this event, I was asked to sing the Cherokee National Anthem, and I was accompanied by Micah Swimmer. Having several members of my family who served and are serving in the military made this day very special to me. I can’t say thank you enough for what all the men and women who served and are serving now and for all of their sacrifices that they have made for our country. I pray that God will continue to bless and keep our tribe and help us to become even stronger as a nation.
Miss Cherokee Taran Swimmer’s Farewell:
The time is drawing near for me to give up the title of Miss Cherokee. This whole experience has been so rewarding for me. I am not going to lie, it was very hard work, especially going to school full time. However, it is an experience that I will never forget and it has made me a better person. I have learned a lot from this experience and I know that it will only help me in my future endeavors.
So many people have helped me from the time that I first decided to run for this title. I would like to say thank you to everyone, from those who gave me encouragement to those who went out of their way to help me during this experience. Not all of this was a walk in the park and I went through some hard times, but I had so much support and love from so many people. I know I could not have done this without all of my family, church family, pastor and all of my friends and former teachers. The prayers and love that they sent me made everything wonderful and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
To my mother, thank you for always pushing me and building me back up when I get knocked down. We get fussy at each other, but I know that you are the reason I work hard in everything I do. I love you so much and I hope I continue to make you proud. To my grandparents, Virgil and Jessie Swimmer, I am so glad that you were here to share this year with me and I pray that you are with me for many more. I love you both and I am so happy that you came to so many events with me. To my aunt Tracy, thank you for always stepping in and helping out. You supported me from the start and gave me nothing but love and encouragement. My Uncle Jerry, thanks for always encouraging me and pushing me to be myself. To Aunt Rina, Flora, Mary and Gig, thank you for all of the love and support that you gave me. To my cousins Shannon, Courtney, Gabe, Gina, Jayan, Shane, Naomi, Micah, thank you for always helping out when needed and just being there for me. To Radonna and Madison Crowe and my cousin, Heather Younce, you guys are truly magic makers. You helped me when I had no idea what was going on and believed in me from the start and made it so much fun during practice and the night of the pageant. During the night of the pageant I was so nervous and scared, but being around you three made all of the nerves go away. You filled my dressing room with laughter, support and love, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. To Paisley Raby and Carrah Swimmer, thank you for taking time to come and do my hair that night and for the other events that you all helped out with as well. To Miss Dvdaya, you were there since day one helping me with my talent. During rehearsals we both made each other better and pushed each other. I went from, “I have a lot of work to do” (she said this when I showed her my princess wave) to becoming Miss Cherokee. To Ogana Swimmer, you were my rock and I am so proud to have you by my side at the singing events. I know you get a little shy, but I was so happy when you shook the rattle for me during the Cherokee national anthem. You even kept me in line by getting on to me for not singing the chorus four times. After that, we made sure we sang it four times. There was no room for error. And to Uwelug, I was so happy to be able to visit your class and help you wash your hands. I wished I could have stayed longer to finger paint with you. I have the best friends in the world from WCU, Kristin Collins, Kristen Bolejack, Phoebe Brooke and Emily Jones. I would not have survived school and being Miss Cherokee without you all. You were there to lift my spirits when things got hard and you were there for the good times as well. I thank God for putting you all in my life and continuing to bless me with wonderful people.
In the next few days I will no longer be Miss Cherokee, and a new young lady will fill my place. But, even though my reign as Miss Cherokee is ending, my journey as Taran Swimmer is not even halfway done. I believe that this experience is something that you are supposed to take away from. When the crown is passed down you do not lose a part of yourself, you will always have the feeling of being Miss Cherokee. Miss Cherokee is a strong, proud, and intelligent Native American woman who is a leader and a role model. Once you become Miss Cherokee you will have an experience that no one can take away. To the next Miss Cherokee, I wish you a wonderful, exciting, and one-of-a-kind experience.
Sgi for the last time,
Taran Swimmer, Miss Cherokee 2015-2016