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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 crowning ceremony and sophomore Ravyn Whitebird (Comanche, Quapaw, Choctaw, Eastern Shawnee, and Blackfoot) from Indiahoma, Okla., was named as the 2018 Miss Indian NEO. The competition, in its seventh year since its re-introduction to campus, was open to female NEO students who met GPA requirements. Whitebird was selected for her involvement in NASA, pageant performance, and academic success. Along with the title and the chance to compete in the national competition, the President’s Partners from NEO contributed a $200 scholarship to Whitebird. “Receiving this title was an enormous honor and comes with many responsibilities,” said Whitebird. “I feel like my experience last year as Miss Indian NEO prepared me for what I expect to be an even better year. I want to get our native students on campus more engaged with their culture and I want to continue establishing an understanding of our traditions. I also want to reach our Native youth and show them the importance of seeking a form of higher education.”

Flutist O.J. Littlecook emceed the pageant and Miss Indian NEO 2016 Cheyenne Watson (Miami) crowned Whitebird. During the pageant, Littlecook also played traditional flute music. Littlecook is a member of the Ponca, Otoe, Osage and Acoma Pueblo Tribes.

This year, Whitebird was joined by contestants Alexandria Griffin and Vanessa Hernandez, both representing the Cherokee Nation. For more information about AICE, contact Rachel Lloyd at rlloyd@neo.edu and for a full photo album, visit facebook.com/gogoneo. (Photo from left: Hannah Berryman, AICE Mentor; 2018 Miss Indian NEO Ravyn Whitebird (Comanche, Quapaw, Choctaw, Eastern Shawnee, and Blackfoot); O.J. Littlecook, Emcee; and Rachel Lloyd, AICE Director)

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