MIAMI – Miss Indian NEO serves as a representative of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, NEO's Native American Student Association (NASA), and the American Indian Center for Excellence.
On Thursday, Nov. 9 in the Commons Hall Auditorium on the NEO campus, the Miss Indian NEO crown was passed from Cheyenne Watson (Miami) to Rayvn Whitebird (Comanche, Quapaw, Choctaw, Eastern Shawnee and Blackfoot).
Traditional storyteller Greg Bilby (Cherokee) served as emcee for the crowing event.
This was the sixth year of the annual competition since returning to the NEO campus, and open to female NEO students who met GPA requirements and submitted a personal essay.
According to a NEO press release, Whitebird was selected for her involvement in NASA and academic success. Along with earning the title and the chance to compete in the national competition, NEO's President’s Partners awarded Whitebird a $200 scholarship.
Whitebird said she believes that coming to NEO was the right choice for her. She loves the environment and said the overall experience so far has been great.
As a NEO student, she is working toward an Arts degree and plans to further her education at a 4-year college, with a goal of becoming a concept artist for Disney, her big dream.
The daughter of Robert Whitebird and Suzanna Robison and step-daughter of James Robinson, Whitebird hails from Indiahoma and as Miss Indian NEO has agreed to abide by a code of conduct, serve as a leader and role model for NEO's Native American student population and conduct outreach within the community.
"Receiving this title was an enormous honor and comes with many responsibilities,” said Whitebird. “I feel very humbled to represent not only NEO but my tribes and my family as well. I hope to promote communication. I want to establish a better understanding of our culture and traditions to the public and work with the Native community to be more open and accepting of mistranslations and miscommunications and recognize this as an opportunity to teach others."
“As the sponsor of the Native American Student Association, it is an honor to see the students on campus and the community come together to support our 2016 Miss Indian NEO, Cheyenne Watson during her reign and our incoming 2017 Miss Indian NEO, Ravyn Whitebird," said Professional Mentor and NASA sponsor Hannah Berryman. "Both students are dedicated to being excellent role models by attending all their classes, running for peer-elected leadership positions within the NASA organization, and volunteer at community functions. They both dance in traditional regalia and attend pow-wows, stomp dances, along with social and ceremonial dances.”