On the evening of Saturday, April 28, 2018 before a sold-out crowd of 10,000+ attendees, including a record 3,600+ registered dancers, Taylor Susan, age 25, was crowned the 35th Miss Indian World. A member of the White Mountain Apache/Walker River Paiute tribes, Susan was one of 30 contestants vying for the prestigious title. Taylor, who hails from White River, Arizona impressed the judge's panel throughout the competition which spanned four days. Taylor is a student at the University of Arizona and is the daughter of Anize Susan and Lloyd Susan.
The Miss Indian World Pageant takes place annually at the world's largest Native American powwow, Gathering of Nations, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The inaugural Miss Indian World pageant was held in 1984 and since its inception, young Native American women ages 18-25 have traveled from all regions of the continent to represent their tribes and compete for the coveted crown. Its purpose is to give young Native American women an opportunity to showcase their tribes and cultures; while serving as a cultural Ambassador of Native Americans by demonstrating the pride and continuance of the diverse cultures of Native people. This program is about Native American culture and positive imaging for the young ladies who compete for the title.
The Miss Indian World pageant has a reputation for crowning winners who display a profound knowledge of her tribe's traditions, history, ancestors and culture. Throughout the 4-day competition, contestants accumulate points based on strong showings in the areas of public speaking, traditional talent, interview, essay and dance. Qualifying contestants must be of native or indigenous American descent, single, with no kids, and have never been married. In addition to the title, contestants are able to win individual awards based on their scores. The following women were also recognized during the crowning ceremony.
1st Runner Up – Lori Martin Kingbird, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, Minnesota
2nd Runner Up- Dinée Dorame, Diné Nation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Public Speaking Award- Dinée Dorame, Diné Nation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Best Interview Award- Shenise Arthur, Diné Nation, Black House, Mesa, New Mexico
Traditional Talent Award- Piiyuuk Shields, Yupïk, Toksook Bay, Alaska
Best Dancer Award- Tyra Nicole Quetawaki, Zuni Pueblo, Zuni, New Mexico
Best Essay Award- Beedoskah Stonefish, Ottawa/Chippewa/Delaware/Pottawatomi, Peshawbestown, Michigan
Miss Congeniality- Piiyuuk Shields, Yupïk, Toksook Bay, Alaska
The Gathering of Nations Directors advised “The title of Miss Indian World is iconic and shall always be distinctly apart of the Gathering of Nations, Ltd. We are proud of all 30 contestants and look forward to working with Taylor Susan this year as she travels Indian Country representing all Native women and the Gathering of Nations organization.”