The 2016-17 Little Cherokee Ambassadors are, from the left in front, Reese Henson and Kellen Rhoton; 2015-16 Jr. Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller; 2016-17 Little Cherokee Ambassador Emma Fields; 2015-16 LCA Maysi Fields; Miss Cherokee Ja-Li-Si Pittman, Kashyah Tehee; and 2016-17 LCA Addison Rouse. In the second row from the left are 2016-17 LCA Manny Longhorn, Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick.
Fort Gibson Elementary School fourth-grader Addison Rouse’s presentation on the significance of the corn bead and how it is used for traditional jewelry earned her the title of Little Cherokee Ambassador on Saturday.
About 20 youth competed in the Little Cherokee Ambassador competition at the Tahlequah Armory.
Also winning in the 10-12 age division was Manny Longhorn, a fifth-grader at Westside Elementary School in Claremore. In the 7-9 age division were Emma Fields, who attends Brushy School in Sequoyah County, and Kellen Rhoton, who attends Herald Elementary in Collinsville.
Crowned as Little Cherokee Ambassador in the 4-6 age division was Reese Henson of Fort Gibson, a second-grader at Cherokee Immersion Charter School.
“The Little Cherokee Ambassador competition is a great way to get our youngest Cherokee Nation citizens involved and learning early their history, culture and language,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “It’s also a great stepping stone for future leadership competitions, since one of these ladies will likely go on to compete for Jr. Miss or Miss Cherokee one day.”
Rouse, 10, answered correctly the three branches of the Cherokee Nation government, three states that were original Cherokee homelands and two former principal chiefs’ names to take the crown and sash in the 10- to 12-year-old division.
“It’s a dream come true,” Rouse said. “I’ve worked for this, and now I’m going to work for my Nation.”
The ambassadors accompany Miss Cherokee and Jr. Miss Cherokee to sponsored events and for the next year serve as representatives of the tribe.
The Jr. Miss Cherokee competition is slated for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Tahlequah Municipal Armory Building, and the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at Cornerstone Church in Tahlequah.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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