Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shaunita Nomee speaks to Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, then a candidate for the position, during his May 19 visit to Crow Agency.

Miss Crow Nation trifecta

Shaunita Nomee represents Crow Tribe in three different roles by age 16
People aren’t chosen often to be their nation’s ambassadors before they leave high school, but 16-year-old Shaunita Nomee – described by her mother as a “complete social butterfly” – has accomplished just that. As Miss Crow Nation for 2017, she is the first person to hold this title and also those of Miss Tiny Tot Crow Nation and Junior Miss Crow Nation.
According to Nomee, when she became 2008 Miss Tiny Tot Crow Nation, she dreamt of becoming Junior Miss Crow Nation. Upon receiving the second title in 2014, she shot for the third.
“She knows exactly how to approach a person; she’s really sociable and she’s really friendly. She can approach a person and talk to them like she’s known them for years,” said her mother Marilyn Rogers. “Her name is Shaunita, but we call her Shy. She’s not at all shy.”
For a large portion of the past year, Nomee has kept her tribal regalia by the front door of her house. With the number of last-minute calls she gets to represent the Crow Tribe at events both near and far, it makes the preparation process go faster.
She had an especially busy week recently at Crow Fair, giving short speeches and participating in dances before thousands of people from in and outside the United States. Surrounded by hundreds of teepees and an estimated 1,200 powwow dancers, she noted that it felt good to represent her people with so many of them present.
Nomee was chosen to be Miss Crow Nation in September 2016 during a pageant with talent, public speaking and dancing portions. For her talent, she combined elements of the other two topics with an exhibition on the history of the push dance, a Native American version of the waltz adapted for the tribe in the early 20th century by a man named Plenty Hawk.
In her speech, she told powwow manager Butch Little Light of the good she could do as Miss Crow Nation, helped by the fact that her family “travels extensively throughout powwow country.” She could help younger tribal members, she said, as both a voice and role model for them.
“I’ve managed to stay drug, alcohol and tobacco free my whole life,” she said. “I have respect for my elders, because they are the ones who took care of this land for me, before me. Now, it’s my turn.”
During her time in the position, she has visited events in Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado and other spots in Montana. According to Rogers, they never declined an invitation.
“We took her everywhere we could,” Rogers said. “We made sure she was there to represent at all times.”
Moving into what will likely be her last month as Miss Crow Nation – new representatives are often chosen in September – Nomee said her time in the position has been “quite an experience.”
“I had so many little kids coming up to me or I was somewhere, meeting somebody big,” she said. “It was exciting.”
This Friday, she starts her first day as a junior at Hardin High School.