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Mikah Carlos being crowned at the 2017 Miss Salt River Pageant at Talking Stick Resort.
Photo by Richie Corrales

Miss Salt River Mikah Carlos Focuses on Education

To say Miss Salt River Mikah Carlos is a busy person is an understatement.

Carlos is fulfilling her royalty duties and pursuing her education. She’s an Arizona State University student, majoring in psychology and American Indian studies.

Carlos said she’s always had an interest in psychology, learning about why people do what they do and how people make decisions. American Indian studies shares equal interest.

“It’s always funny, because before I was like, ‘Why would I, as a Native American, study about Native Americans?’ But I found that when you actually study American Indian studies, there is a cultural and language aspect of it,” she said. “A lot of it has to do with policy and laws and how Native American politics relate to the federal government. So it’s more about how the relationships exist between tribal government and the federal government. That is the route that I am really interested in; I really want to go into policy and law.”

Carlos said she is looking at law school or graduate school once she receives her bachelor’s degrees.

Beyond school, Carlos has high expectations for her contribution to her Community. A goal of hers is to become SRPMIC president one day and later a department director related to family or youth services.

“My platform (as Miss Salt River) was using education to preserve our way of life,” Carlos said. “How can I take my Western education and my cultural knowledge [and] integrate them so that we are successful in the Western world but we are also keeping our cultural knowledge? I want to use that to encourage people to get their education and also encourage people to get our culture, languages and songs.”

(L-R) Angelica Gonzales, Mikah Carlos and Joesell Garza at the Unity Conference.
Submitted photo Salt River Pageant Committee
Volunteering with ASU’s Office of American Indian Initiatives Tribal Nation Tour, being a part of the National Congress of American Indians, serving as a youth delegate with Generation Indigenous (Gen I) under the Obama Administration and vice chair of the Salt River Police Law Enforcement Commission, Carlos was already a positive SRPMIC ambassador. With the help of her friends, she was convinced to be the ambassador for the Miss Salt River title.

“Being involved in those various organizations, I was like, ‘Well, I’m representing Salt River as an individual, as the status of a member of this tribe. But I want to do more.’ I wanted to be able to share that with the Community even more. So I discussed it with some friends, and they’re like, ‘You’re already doing all this work, why not be the actual ambassador for your tribe?’”

Carlos said she is happy to be spending time with her court and the Jr. Miss Salt River court; they have been a big support in helping her through her reign. When they are together, she said, they just click and it’s constant nonstop laughing traveling to events together. She offers some words of advice for any young lady looking to vie for Miss Salt River.

Jr. Miss and Miss Salt River court at the Council Chambers.
Submitted photo Salt River Pageant Committee.
“I can’t tell anybody yes or no individually if they should run,” she said. “I feel that is a personal decision they need to make. I do tell them it is a big commitment, and you do have to have your heart in the right place. You have to be doing this for the right reasons. Ask yourself why you’re doing this and is it for the right reasons. It is a big time commitment, but you also get out of it what you put into it.”