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The American Indian Center for Excellence (AICE) and the Native American Student Association (NASA) at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) recently hosted the annual Miss Indian NEO pageant and Cheyenne Watson (Miami) from Miami, Okla. was named as the 2016 Miss Indian NEO. The competition, in its fifth year since its re-introduction to campus, was open to female NEO students who met GPA requirements. Candidates were scored based on essays, reference letters, and their pageant performance. First runner-up was Toshina Hagar (Ponca/Tonkawa) from Miami, Okla.

Along with the title and the chance to compete in the national competition, the President’s Partners from NEO contributed a $200 scholarship to Watson. “I’m very honored to be selected as the 2016-2017 Miss Indian NEO,” said Watson. “I would like to encourage the young generation, especially college students, to learn their traditions as much as possible, because we are losing our elders every day. They are the ones who are counting on us to keep their traditions going, so it’s important for me to learn as much as possible to be able to teach the generation to come.”

Whitney Iron (Sioux and Cherokee) emceed the pageant and Watson was crowned by Miss Indian NEO 2015 Allison Reyes (Osage). During the pageant, Cherokee storyteller Greg Bilby spoke to the crowd. Tony Gonzalez, Cassie Harper, and Rebecca Jim served as judges for the competition. For more information about AICE, contact Rachel Lloyd at rlloyd@neo.edu and for a full photo album, visit facebook.com/gogoneo. 0_min16-26 (Photo from left: Current Miss Indian NEO Cheyenne Watson (Miami), 2015 Miss Indian NEO Allison Reyes (Osage))

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