Santa Clarita native competes in Miss Indian World

Sarah De Herrera in traditional regalia./Courtesy Jarrette Werk
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A Santa Clarita woman has been chosen to represent the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma in the Miss Indian World hosted by Gathering of Nations.

The Miss Indian World pageant brings representatives from the many Native American tribes around the continent to the Gathering of Nations Pow wow to compete in a five-day pageant. The pageant includes an interview, a public speaking portion, a dance competition and a talent portion.

Sarah De Herrera, a 23-year-old Santa Clarita native, has dreamed of being chosen to represent the Choctaw tribe in the pageant since she was 16, she said.

To apply, De Herrera and other hopefuls had to go through an application process. The process included submitting a formal application, writing a personal essay about themselves, two letters of recommendations and selling raffle tickets to cover the entrance fee of the pageant, De Herrera explained.

“It’s the highest honor you could receive for tribal pageantry,” De Herrera said. “Girls look up to Miss Indian World.”

Despite wanting to join the pageant for so long, De Herrera held off applying to focus on something she deemed more important first.

“Education is really important to me.” she said. “I had to make sure if I was gonna get my degree I need to get it done now.” She graduated from Academy of the Canyons, then moved on to Cal Poly Pomona where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business.

Now that her education is completed, she has committed to competing in the pageant and hopefully winning.

“I would like to bring disability awareness and foster care reform if I win,” De Herrera explained. “Those are my focuses but there’s not one (issue) that should be excluded.”

The winner of the pageant represents the Indian nations as a cultural ambassador. Miss Indian World will spend her year traveling and promoting diversity and cultural awareness, according to the Gathering of Nations website.

The Miss Indian World pageant is part of the Gathering of Nations Pow wow. The Pow wow is a gathering for all Native Americans to come together and celebrate and share culture. It hosts a an Indian trading market, a blend of traditional and contemporary music on Stage 49 as well as the Miss Indian World pageant.

The pageant will begin April 24 before the Pow wow opens on April 26. Tickets for the event are for sale on the event’s website.

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