University News

Alum wins Navajo pageant

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Winifred Jumbo ’10 was crowned Miss Navajo Nation last week, a position she will hold for the next year. The competition was part of the Navajo Nation Fair, which was held Sept. 9–12 in Arizona.

As the new Miss Navajo Nation, Jumbo will work out of an office based in Window Rock, Ariz., and will travel around the world as a goodwill ambassador. She will also be involved in the upcoming presidential elections of the Navajo Nation by encouraging people to vote.

“I’m really honored and really excited to win,” Jumbo said.

Jumbo competed in a series of rounds over the week, including presentations of traditional and contemporary skills and talents, evening gown wear and an interview in which she was quizzed about the Navajo Nation by past winners and asked what she thinks it means to be a Navajo woman.  

“In the Navajo Nation, it is generally established that women can’t be leaders,” she said. “I think we can change that and show that is possible to have new views while also holding on to tradition.”

Jumbo grew up in the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian reserve in the United States. She said she is humbled to be able to represent her people and her land. As Miss Navajo Nation, she said that she aims to encourage more Native American students to pursue higher education, as well as prevent global indigenous language loss by working toward preserving, documenting and revitalizing the Navajo language. Jumbo will visit local high schools around the Navajo nation and said she also hopes to visit China later this year, though no travel arrangements outside the United States have so far been set.

At Brown, Jumbo was a double concentrator in ethnic studies and anthropology. She was also head of Native Americans of Brown last year.

“Being part of NAB gave me a new perspective on what it means to be Native American,” she said. Jumbo also said she is grateful for the strong support system that the group provided.

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