Miss Indian World Talks About Foreigners and That Hug From Michelle Obama

She hugged Michelle Obama - Miss Indian World Cheyenne Dae Brady
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The reigning Miss Indian World is Cheyenne Dae Brady, a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. She currently resides in New Town, North Dakota, on the Fort Berthold reservation, home of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from North Dakota State University last May, and has been accepted into the North Dakota State’s Master of Public Health program.

She was crowned at the 2015 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque in April. Since then, she has been busy representing her title visiting tribes, reservations and Native events here in the U.S. and also has traveled to Canada. She is Thunder Clan and her clan name is Sitoniquay, which translates to “light rain or mist.” ICTMN recently caught up with her to talk about her experience so far as Miss Indian World.

Can you describe what it’s been like over the past nine months?

I have enjoyed every minute of it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a young girl. I have grown a lot as a person. My platform has been focused on Native youth and expanding cultural pride. Cultural pride is at the core of who we are as Native peoples – our stories, language, history, dances and ceremonies. I have a good support system with family and friends.

What was it like to meet the First Lady Michelle Obama in July at the White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington D.C.?

First, I thanked her, President Obama and his administration for the things they are doing for our Native youth. She treated us like we were… like family. I was in my traditional clothing when I met her and sometimes people don’t know how to approach you when you’re not dressed like them. But she gave me a hug and she treated me like a human being. It thought that was awesome.

Cheyenne Dae Brady was one of several Native youth interviewed by ICTMN's Vincent Schilling at the White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington D.C. in a video entitled "Dear Mr. President."

How did you feel when you graduated from North Dakota State this past May with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree? Did you envision that day and how it turned out?

Somehow I’ve been blessed. Words can’t really describe how both of those moments made me feel.

If you had to choose between one or the other, which one would you choose?

Oh no! That’s too hard. Wait. I’ll be graduating in 2017 with my master’s degree, so if I had to choose between walking for my bachelor’s and getting Miss Indian World I would choose Miss Indian World and then walk when I get my master’s.

What is your powwow dance style?

I dance Southern Buckskin. Before I danced Southern Buckskin I danced Southern Cloth.

How much of an influence have your parents (Rebecca “Tookie” Brady and Jon “Poncho” Brady) had on your powwow career and your pursuit of Miss Indian World?

My mom has had a huge influence on my life. Both of my parents are very, very supportive. I ran for Miss Indian World in 2011 and they were really excited. I didn’t win, but when I wanted to run again this past year they were the first people I told.

As far as powwow dancing, my mom is my idol. She went to powwows when she was younger. That’s how I got into it. I grew up in that circle.

You had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington in late May. What was that like when, as you blogged, there were many foreigners visiting that day? What did you see, hear and learn about how foreigners view Native American people?

They were kind and they were respectful. They didn’t just come up and put their hands all over my buckskin. They were curious. I said, “This is a hide, these are beads. I made this outfit.” I had to explain things. I felt like some of them had already done their research. They already knew about some of the history of Native Americans. Sometimes non-natives here in the U.S. are oblivious to our Native cultures. So I respected these foreigners because they respected us.

(For more information about how to apply for the 2016 Miss Indian World contest go to www.gatheringofnations.com to obtain the application form. The deadline is March 20th).