Thursday, June 13

Miss Navajo
Phoebe, Clementine and I were quite excited to discover we were in the presence of Navajo royalty when we visited Navajoland last weekend. 

Miss Navajo 1963-1964: Anna Mae Begay Fowler!

Anna Fowler, who is married to
The Rev. Jack Fowler, Rector Emeritus of All Saints Church in Farmington, N.M., was one of the most beautiful and gracious women any of us had ever met.

(In fact, we were quite smitten.)

Miss Navajo Nation is a pageant that has been held annually on the Navajo Nation since 1952. The name has changed over the years from Miss Navajo, to Miss Traditional Navajo and Miss Modern Navajo, back to Miss Navajo, to Miss Navaj
o Nation.

Currently, pageant contestants must be unmarried, over 18 years of age, be a high school graduate, and be able to speak the Navajo language. They compete in such activities such as answering questions about traditional and modern Navajo customs both in Navajo and English, sheep butchering, and performing a contemporary and Navajo cultural talent.
The role of Miss Navajo Nation is to exemplify the essence and characters of First Woman, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman and to display leadership as the Goodwill Ambassador.

Miss Navajo Nation represents womanhood and fulfills the role of "grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister" to the Navajo people and therefore she can speak as a leader, teacher, counselor, adviser and friend.
I was fascinated to learn more aboout Anna Fowler, according to the Miss Navajo Council website:

  • Hometown: Black Mountain, AZ
  • Age during reign: 20
  • Education: Intermountain Indian school for Junior High School, Window Rock High School, B.S. in Elementary Education, minor in Early Childhood Education at Univ of New Mexico
  • I am (Nishlí): Red Running into the Water Clan (Naasht’ezhi dine’e Tachii’nii)
  • Born for (Báshíshchíín): Bitter Water Clan (Todich’ii’nii)
  • My Maternal Grandparents are (Dashichei): Salt Clan (Ashiihi)
  • My Paternal Grandparents are (Dashinálí): The Water Flow Together Clan (To’aheedliinii)

I was born Dec. 17, 1943, in Black Mountain, Arizona (Chinle). Herded sheep ‘til 8 years old. Then enrolled in Chinle Boarding School, where I continued ‘til sent to Intermountain Indian school (Brigham City, Utah) for Junior High School. After that, I attended high school at Window Rock High School living in the dormitory at Good Shepherd Mission, Fort Defiance, Arizona. It was from there that I competed for Miss Navajo 1963. Later on, I found my future husband at Fort Defiance and married following my reign. These years of our marriage we have raised five children, now all married and who have given us 13 grandchildren. My career as a graduate of UNM in Elementary education has spanned a variety of teachings and administrative positions. Sharing God’s love as a minister's wife has been a satisfying part of my career. My years as Miss Navajo Nation contributed richly in preparing me for my life’s work.

What do you feel were your significant accomplishments during your reign as Miss Navajo Nation? The public relations and goodwill that I accomplished for the Navajo Tribe through my visibility.

What do you feel are your accomplishments in your career? My graduation from University of New Mexico and the success I achieved with early childhood and pre-kindergarten children.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Motherhood and grandmotherhood which I am accomplishing.

What do you feel are your accomplishments in your life? Teaching for modern living and teaching the tradition of the Navajo people in school and outside the school setting. Understanding and accepting the two cultures that I live in that I can get along with the other culture and people. Using my god-given gifts as a mother and grandmother to help my children and grandchildren to cope in this world.

What are your fondest memories of your reign as Miss Navajo Nation? I was attendant to the Sun Bowl Queen in El Paso, Texas along with several other royalties. My Clearwater and St. Petersburg (Florida) trip when I received the key to the City of St. Petersburg from the Mayor and the pride that I felt in sharing information about my people.

What challenges did you face as Miss Navajo Nation? I was trying to finish high school at the same time during my reign, but made it with a lot of studying on my part.

What was your greatest learning experience during your reign as Miss Navajo Nation? That I can be a winner and believe in myself and that I can reach my life goals. Interacting with people different than myself helped improved my self-image.

What was required of you when you were running for Miss Navajo Nation? Commitment and persistence to improve my skills in both modern and traditional categories as I was the first to compete in both. In the traditional, the weaving, spinning and carding for a rug and sung a song, jokes. Modern; typing, sewing and public speaking.

What is your advice to future Miss Navajo Nations? To make sure full backing of family and friends first as well as a good sponsor. Even if you don’t win, the experience in worth it. Go for it!

I'll bet Phoebe's Momma won't get to meet the Queen of England while she's in Great Britain!

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