OHSWEKEN – On Friday, August 19, families and friends gathered at the 149th Miss Six Nations Pageant within the Gaylord Powless Arena in anticipation for the selection of 2016’s Six Nations Royal Family.
As a highlight of the Annual Six Nations Fair, the pageant was held during the 149th year and still offers six age categories for the ladies, and one category for the young gentlemen. Of these categories is the most highly anticipated — the title of Miss Six Nations, which was taken home by none other than Shauna Clause.
But the road to being crowned isn’t an easy one, as of three contestants including Jordyn Shae Johnson and Sandi Capton, Clause propelled herself forward with her prepared statement and finally a well answered impromptu question on stage. Prior to the competition on stage, Clause had to sell 50/50 tickets, write an essay, prepare a presentation board and undergo a personal interview.
Clause explained that once the other competitors were selected, she couldn’t help but show emotion.
“I cried, as people could see up there,” said Clause. “It was just overwhelming and I was so excited, but I mean I worked hard for this. So, it was definitely well-earned I feel on my part.”
In regards to her experience, Clause explained that the process would have benefitted her even if she didn’t walk away with the crown and title.
“This was really good for me,” said Clause. “I met a lot of new people and I really thought that just being in the pageant, people participating, shows that you have what it takes to be an ambassador for this community. I feel like even if someone didn’t win, they still can go on to be a community leader. Just like Make said, regardless of whether you have this title or not, you can still be a great leader for our community,” she said.
For the coming year, Clause says that she hopes to educate those around her on Haudenosaunee culture and help to combat stereotypes.
“I mostly want to get in touch with people and educate them about our culture and our people,” she said. “I feel like when I went off-reserve this year to school, I saw a lot of people [that didn’t have] an understanding of who we are as people. They had stereotypes of who we were and very untrue stereotypes about who we are as people,” she said.
“I just want to educate people about us and let them know that we’re more than the stereotypes that people think we all are. We have a beautiful culture filled with songs, ceremonies and traditions that I think should be expressed to everyone,” she said.
But not only will Clause be representing at different venues and events throughout the year, she also has hopes for other pageants such as the Miss IDLA pageant and the Miss Indian World pageant. But her prowess in the pageant arena seems to be innate, and there’s a good reason for that.
“I grew up doing modelling and dancing and stuff, so that’s kinda what got me into that. But we did more beauty pageants when we were younger, until I participated in Miss Mini and I won Miss Mini,” she said. “Just wanting to represent the community. This is a great pageant because that’s what you’re doing, it’s not really about the outside beauty, it’s about what you have to offer and what you can do as an ambassador in representing our community in a positive way.”
To conclude her interview, the new Miss Six Nations 2016 to 2017 wanted to offer words to those that are thinking about pageantry, but are unsure of themselves.
“Even if you’re doubting yourself, just do it anyway,” she said. “It’s a great experience whether you win or not like I said, you’re a winner for even participating because it shows that you want change in our community or that you want to represent our community. I say go for it,” she said.
Congratulations to all contestants and of course all new members of the Six Nations Royal Family, enjoy your reign!