During the evening of June 16, Ki-Ana Reina and Anissa Marie Pacheco participated in the Jr. Miss Salt River Pageant. At the same time, the Miss Salt River Pageant was held. This year it had only one contestant, Elisa Briones.
The afternoon started with a warm welcome by Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Diane Enos. The mistress and master of ceremonies were SRPMIC Council Member Lorna Ray and Cultural Resources Director Kelly Washington.
Salt River American Legion Bushmasters Post #114 posted the colors, and Community senior Barabra Johnson sung the national anthem in O’odham. Jaymee Li Moore, Miss Indian Arizona 2011-12, said the opening prayer, which was followed by the introduction of each contestant.
The current Jr. Miss Salt River, Pretty Flower Galindo, and Miss Salt River Devanie Duwyenie welcomed everyone to the pageant. The theme of the evening was “Rhythm of the Desert Songs,” and each contestant had to speak about what the theme meant to them.
For their talent presentation, both Reina and Pacheco performed Maricopa dances. Briones demonstrated what she learned from working with the Huhugam Ki Museum to preserve traditional baskets and pottery of the Salt River Pima and Maricopa.
After their talent presentations, there was a performance from Wynona Marie Peters, who is the current Miss Tohono O’odham Nation. She sang O’odham songs for the audience while the contestants prepared for their next presentation.
The Jr. Miss contestants came out one at a time to model their semi-formal wear and recite their essays. Briones came out in formal evening wear and also recited her essay.
Briones was given an impromptu question: “If you were given several minutes with President Barack Obama, what would you tell him about the Community?”
She would first introduce herself, then said she would ask the president to take some time to visit Salt River and its many enterprises and learn how we are a Self-Governance Community, how taxes are taken out of the stores (sales taxes) and how this revenue is invested back into the Community.
Once she walked off stage, visiting royalty were introduced and the individuals who help present the pageant were acknowledged.
Next was the traditional dress and talent. The Miss Salt River contestant introduced herself and sang a song that she said has stuck with her since childhood, when she learned to sing in O’odham from elder Eugenia Osif.
A special performance and farewell walk by the current Jr. Miss and Miss Salt River took place minutes before the crowning.
Next was the Jr. Miss traditional wear and announcement of the new Jr. Miss Salt River. This was based on the points each contestant received. Ki-Ana Reina had the most points in each competition and was crowned 2012-13 Jr. Miss Salt River. Pacheco was named Jr. Miss Salt River First Attendant, and must be ready to fulfill the duties if the Jr. Miss Salt River cannot continue her reign. Next was the crowning of Elisa Briones, who accepted the title of Miss Salt River and role as the ambassador for the Community throughout 2012-13.
“This year’s pageant was really good and a lot of fun,” said Reina. “I do wish more girls had participated, because you build a bond with not only the other girls, but also the committee [members]. Overall I did enjoy this past year as first attendant, but I’m really looking forward to what the coming year brings—not only for me, but for the girls as well,” she said.
“Winning the title of Jr. Miss Salt River is a great honor and it comes with responsibilities. That’s going to be exciting,” said Reina.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment for Ki-Ana,” said her proud father, Edward “Pacer” Reina, who was also her escort on stage. He said he became a little worried during rehearsals, where it seemed as though she had forgotten some key points in her verbal presentations.
“I talked with Ki-Ana on self-discipline, expectations and happiness. She in turn went out on pageant night and did everything that she was capable of, and that was awesome,” he said.