OHSWEKEN — Chezney Martin wants three things. To be a role model for girls across North America, to highlight her community’s great triumphs and to be a voice for all indigenous people. What better platform to stand on to achieve these goals than to be crowned Miss Indian World?
“Sometimes we forget that there are roughly 700 different tribes and nations spread all throughout North America,” says 19-year-old Martin. “We all have an understanding of who we are as indigenous people but we don’t have a broad perspective of how many of us there really are.
As Miss Indian World, I would be in the position to help people learn more about all of our people as a whole.”
To attend the pageant, Martin has to sell at least 500 tickets to the Gathering of Nations powwow, taking place in April in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tickets are $2.50 each and she plans on selling tickets to friends, family and anyone interested in helping reach her goal.
Helping her drive ticket sales and also to show appreciation to those that show support, every person who buys two tickets to the powwow will earn themselves one raffle ticket that Martin will put into a draw and select winners from. The winners of the raffle will be given the opportunity to choose from a selection of beaded earrings that Martin made herself.
“It’s a way to say thank-you for supporting me,” says Martin. “Our beadwork shows our people’s creativity while showcasing our evolution.”
Martin will be at several of the upcoming Ohsweken Demons’ lacrosse home games, selling tickets.
Martin, who was Miss Six Nations from 2014 to 2015, did not run for Miss Indian World last year because she thought she was not mature enough for the crown. She says she has grown and learned a lot in the past 12 months and could now be a great ambassador for indigenous people worldwide.
“I had a lot going on in my life and really felt as though I wasn’t ready for Miss World,” says Martin. “One year later I’ve grown up a lot and have learned a lot more about my people.”
Contestants are judged on several different factors, including; dance, talent, professionalism and public speaking.
“The judges almost expect you to be a professor for your people,” says Martin. “You need to know where you’ve come from — the stories, legends, songs, dances — the contestants have to know that stuff.”
If interested in buying tickets to help, Martin can be reached at 519-900-5535 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The tickets need to be sold by the end of April.