On Tuesday, October 22, five girls ages 9 to 11 competed in front of three judges and their family and friends to be the next Red Mountain Eagle Powwow Princess. The pageant was held at the Salt River Community Building and the five participants were Teegan Carmelita Smith, Chloe A. Johnson, Sialik Shandiin King, Linda Balderrama and Marcia Thomas.
The Red Mountain Eagle Princess serves as a representative of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and ambassador of the Red Mountain Eagle Powwow. The judges were Wi-Bwa Williams, Raeann Brown and Esther Moyah.
The contestants were judged on grand-entry dancing, a personal introduction, poise and posture, traditional dress, and a personal essay on why they would like to be the next Red Mountain Eagle Powwow Princess. Led by the outgoing RMEP Princess, Sommer Lopez, the girls performed a grand-entry dance to a song by Melvin “Sunni” Deer.
Those in the audience agreed that each girl did an outstanding job in public speaking; they all represented themselves very well. As the judges tallied their final scores, Sommer Lopez gave her farewell speech and presented a slide show featuring highlights of her adventures throughout the year.
“This year has been an amazing year, and I had so much fun going through it. The best part of it was being with my friends and family visiting all the parades and powwows,” said Lopez. “I would like to thank all my friends and family who have encouraged me along the way. I would also like to thank Janet Johnson, David Montiel and all the Salt River Royalty for helping me.” Lopez greeted people in the audience as her slide show played. Then, she and the members of the Red Mountain Eagle Powwow Committee presented gifts to this year’s contestants.
It was time for the announcements. The Red Mountain Eagle Powwow Princess First Attendant was Sialik Shandiin King, and the title of Red Mountain Eagle Powwow Princess went to Teegan Carmelita Smith.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me, and my mom, dad and the rest of my family for encouraging me to run for the pageant,” said Smith. “I finally got gutsy enough to run. Preparing for the pageant was really fun. Thank you for coming out.”
Smith was formally crowned at the Red Mountain Eagle Powwow on Saturday, November 2 at the 7 p.m. grand entry.
Committee member Janet Johnson stated that Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community girls enter the Red Mountain Eagle Powwow Princess Pageant as a first step toward other pageants.
“They see the title as a stepping stone to our Miss and Jr. Miss Salt River Royalty,” said Johnson. “For the young girls, competing is hard work, but it provides a positive feeling of accomplishment, especially after presenting [themselves at their best] in front of an audience.”