Sunshine Perry, a sophomore at Fort Lewis College and member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, was named this years Miss Hozhoni at FLC.
Six women at the college competed in a three-day pageant for the title. Perry was named Miss Hozhoni on March 31 at the end of the two-day Hozhoni Days Powwow.
In her role as ambassador of the colleges Native American community, Perry has been busy giving interviews and organizing events. She is attending her first powwow in Farmington this weekend.
During the talent portion of the pageant, Perry sang and presented about the hide-tanning process, using a hide she had tanned herself as an example. For the traditional foods part of the competition, she prepared dried deer, elk, moose and buffalo meat, as well as chokecherry pudding.
Perry is majoring in Native American Indian Studies and minoring in pre-law with a goal to go into tribal law.
I know I can go back home and change some things, she said.
She lives with her family in Ignacio and helps host sweat-lodge ceremonies every Friday and drum practice two times a week.
Almost every afternoon after classes, she commutes to Ignacio to work at the Boys & Girls Club there.
The children at the club look to her for advice and guidance, and she tries to impart on them the importance of education and college, Perry said. She wants to use the Miss Hozhoni title to promote that message even more, she said.
The Miss Hozhoni Pageant and the Hozhoni Days Powwow are valuable in reinforcing the mission of Native American education at FLC, said President Dene Kay Thomas.
Miss Hozhonis role carries on the tradition of communicating among and understanding different cultures, Thomas said.