TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Lauryn Fields, 20, of Sallisaw, was crowned Miss Cherokee 2022-2023 during the annual leadership competition held in Tahlequah Saturday. The tribe also crowned a new Junior Miss Cherokee and Little Cherokee Ambassadors, all of whom will serve in their roles for the next year.
As Miss Cherokee, Lauryn Fields will represent the Cherokee Nation as a goodwill ambassador to promote the government, history, language and culture of the tribe. She also received a $6,000 scholarship.
“I am extremely proud of the youth who have been selected as Cherokee ambassadors for 2022-2023,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “They are truly inspirational to all Cherokees and will be especially influential to our youngest Cherokee citizens. I’m particularly proud to see how passionate they are about sharing their culture and traditions and I am excited to see all that they will accomplish in the year to come.”
Lauryn Fields attends NSU as a junior and studies health and human performance. She received her associate’s degree in Allied Health from Carl Albert State College, graduating with the highest honors, CASC President’s Honor Roll, and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She serves as vice president for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council. She is a former Junior Miss Cherokee 2016-17.
“I'm beyond excited to be able to have this title,” Fields said. “I think it means to me, even for my 5-year-old self, that she can do it, she can do hard things. I didn’t just do this for me. I did this for all of those youth who might be going through something difficult, as well as might just be a little different.”
Lauryn Fields is the daughter of Betty Jo Fields and the granddaughter of Nancy Fields. She is a member of the Stokes Smith Ceremonial Grounds where she belongs to the Blue Clan. She participates in stomp dances, stickball, and assists in preparing traditional foods. She enjoys making cornbread necklaces, basket weaving and learning to bead.
The Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition judges contestants on their use of the Cherokee language, as well as cultural and platform presentations and responses to impromptu questions. Additional judge’s categories include an interview, leadership and community involvement, and social skills. For her cultural presentation, Lauryn Fields shared the art of making shackles for stomp dancing. Her platform speech focused on bringing awareness to hearing loss.
Miss Cherokee first runner-up was Kaitlyn Pinkerton, 19, of Claremore. Pinkerton was awarded a $3,000 scholarship. The second runner-up was Jolie Wilhite, 18, of Stilwell, who received a $2,000 scholarship.
During the competition, Maysi Fields, 15, of Sallisaw, was crowned Junior Miss Cherokee 2022-2023. As Junior Miss Cherokee, Maysi Fields will represent the Cherokee Nation as a goodwill ambassador to promote the government, history, language and culture of the tribe.
“It is really exciting to win,” Maysi Fields said. “It’s amazing to be the person that the littles can look up to.”
Maysi Fields is the daughter of Judd and LaShawna Pickering. She is sophomore at Muldrow High School, where she is involved in BETA Club, Spanish Club and Oklahoma Indian Organization Native American Club. She also participates in cross country, track and basketball. She is a member of Stokes Smith Ceremonial Grounds where she shakes shells and plays stickball. She enjoys beading, storytelling and making kanuchi.
The 2022-23 Little Cherokee Ambassadors were crowned during a ceremony Aug. 26 in Tahlequah.
Eighteen Cherokee children competed in three age divisions for the titles. Little Cherokee Ambassadors act as role models and ambassadors for the tribe by attending events and parades for the next year.
“Seeing our Cherokee youth find so much interest in being an ambassador on behalf of the Cherokee Nation, it makes the heart happy,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “They will play such a prominent role in our future, and this is a great opportunity for them to be able to patriciate in the tribe by sharing their culture and traditions.”
Olivia Daugherty, 12, of Sallisaw, was crowned Little Cherokee Ambassador in the 10-12 age category. Daugherty said she is excited to share her culture. For her cultural presentation, she explained and demonstrated the making and shooting of a bow and arrow.
Joining her in the 10-12 age category male division of Little Cherokee Ambassador was Kannon Lane, 12, of Tahlequah. He sang a Cherokee song for his cultural presentation.
“I feel really great,” Lane said. “I’m excited to be in all of the parades and all of the events that they hold.”
Winning in the 7-9 age category was Aaliyah Teehee, 7, of Stilwell, who demonstrated the making of kanuchi. William Cross Anderson, 9, of Hulbert, sang two songs in Cherokee for his cultural presentation and won in the boys 7-9 age category.
In the Little Cherokee Ambassador 4-6 age category, Winnie Asbill, 6, of Tahlequah, won the title. She demonstrated basket weaving for her cultural presentation.