Navajo student crowned Miss Indian USU 2011 at powwow

LOGAN—Cassie Largo, a full-time Utah State University student and full-blooded Navajo, has emerged winner of the 2011 Miss Indian USU pageant. Largo was crowned after a night of cultural performances Friday, winning her a $1,000 scholarship from American Indian Services in Provo and a year’s duties as ambassador for native peoples.”I was really happy to win this pageant,” Largo said. “It provides such great opportunities and I’m excited to be a part of them.”Dawnelle John was first runner up, with Jeorcinda Slick second and Karli Muir third.As the pageant champion, Largo is now placed into a leadership position to serve as a goodwill ambassador, representing her family, tribe, heritage, the American Indian/Alaskan Native communities and USU.The Miss Indian USU participates in outreach presentations to schools, visits elders in rest homes, and networks with fellow American Indian university student organizations in Utah.”This pageant is important to the American Indian students because it provides an opportunity to instill hope in young native people,” said Sam Curley, USU Multicultural Program coordinator. “It shows that there is a higher road, that there is something out there that they can do and to help make a positive contribution to society.”I sincerely believe our students want the opportunity to give back and the Miss Indian USU program is designed to do just that,” he said.The pageant is designed to showcase contestants’ contemporary and traditional talents in a blending of pop culture and tribal culture. In the contemporary portion, contestants demonstrated talents ranging from “singing” in American Sign Language to a glow-in-the-dark basketball performance.Traditional talents featured different aspects of Native American heritage. Slick, the second runner-up, prepared a traditional Indian dish called blue mush, a combination of blue corn and burnt ash tree leaves. Muir performed a traditional shawl dance, while John demonstrated how to spin wool using her grandmothers’ spinning tools.Largo, the new Miss Indian USU, gave a brief history about the cradle board, a wooden board used for carrying infants. She then demonstrated its use by strapping her month-old nephew to it.

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