June 6, 2017
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Former Jr. Miss Cherokee Chelbie Turtle was recently crowned Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women and will spend the next year as a goodwill ambassador for Oklahoma tribes.
The Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma competition was held in conjunction with the annual Miss Indian Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant in Durant.
As Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma, Turtle will promote the mission of OFIW, which is to foster friendship among Oklahoma’s Native American women, preserve culture and heritage, promote education, and uplift younger Native women. Her platform is “The Value of Higher Education.”
“I believe education is important. Math, English, science, reading and writing—those core subjects—are important to younger children and really establish their future and how they view the world. I want to promote to kids that education is important,” said Turtle, who served as the 2014-15 Jr. Miss Cherokee.
Turtle said she learned the values of being a tribal ambassador from her mother, who is a former Miss Cherokee, Miss Indian Oklahoma and Miss Indian USA.
“It’s a great feeling to be honored with the title of Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma, and I’m especially honored to represent Cherokee Nation and every other tribe in Oklahoma,” Turtle said. “I look forward to promoting and sharing about the Cherokee Nation and our culture. During the Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma competition, each contestant learned a lot from each other. I look forward to doing more of that this year as I travel around to represent OFIW, and I appreciate the Cherokee Nation for the support and opportunities it has provided.”
This year’s OFIW pageant theme was “Honoring Our Indigenous Women Warriors: Protecting All That is Sacred.” Turtle competed against three other contestants who were judged on a written essay and personal interview with judges along with onstage presence, including a tribal introduction, tribal dress, talent, platform, contemporary dress and impromptu questions.
Turtle received her crown from Jr. Miss Indian Oklahoma 2016 Chyna Chupco, who also attends Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah.
“Chelbie Turtle will be an excellent youth ambassador for the state and for the Cherokee Nation in the upcoming year,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “She recently served our tribe in a similar role, and I know she is well prepared to be a positive representative and role model for all tribal youth in Oklahoma.”
Turtle, 16, is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Trice Turtle of Tahlequah. She will begin her 10th grade year at Sequoyah High School in the fall.
The Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation were platinum sponsors for OFIW’s 2017 events.
Learn more about the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women, a nonprofit organization, at https://ofiwpageant.wixsite.com/ofiw.