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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Miss Indian World Welcomed Home
by Roselynn Wahtomy - Sho-Ban News
credits: photos by Lori Edmo-Suppah

Fort Hall, ID – Miss Indian World 2014-2015 Taylor Thomas, was given a royal homecoming on Thursday, May 1.
A video of the crowning opened the event and was viewed before a room full of community members from Fort Hall and surrounding areas. As the clip announced Thomas the winner, the crowd within the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center erupted in cheer; reenacting the enthusiasm that echoed within The Pit on April 26.

Thomas and her escort James Tone entered the room as Spring Creek Singers offered an honor song.

Fort Hall Business Council (FHBC) Chairman Nathan Small welcomed the audience.

“It’s a proud moment for us, for our people and for our families.”

He acknowledged Thomas as his niece and was amazed she was now Miss Indian World.

“I feel like she will do a good job for us, representing our people, especially the Indian women and have a real good influence on our young Indian girls that are growing up,” said Small.

FHBC Secretary Lee Juan Tyler dedicated a song he composed for Thomas recognizing how she made the community proud and wishing her well on her travels.

Council member Darrell Dixey commended Thomas for doing a great job.

Sergeant-at-Arms Devon Boyer recognized Thomas and all the other young women and their families who represented the community.

Boyer said, “Taylor, it’s been a long journey and I know that we spoke here and there, off and on, about different things and my main word is, ‘Hang in there, things will happen,’ and you know what? They do. Things really do happen in a good way and a good manner. We’re making history. Not only for Shoshone-Bannock Tribes but all the tribes in this country as well as this world.”

Miss Indian Nations, Alexandria Alvarez, expressed her praise to Thomas.

“She is the embodiment of who we want our Miss Indian Word to be; to be friendly and be wonderful to all the girls. To be a role model and a leader.”

Thomas shared a PowerPoint that documented some of the moments she experienced as Miss Shoshone-Bannock. Photos showed her in Washington D.C. with the FHBC, representing at the Eastern Idaho State Fair, pictured with other royalty, attending local traditional cooking classes and moments during the Miss Indian World pageant.

Thomas explained Miss Indian World’s role as an ambassador for all indigenous people.

“The embodiment of a traditional and cultural woman, she is somebody who brings awareness to who she is and who all indigenous people are around the world – would like people to know who they are and to tap a little more into their culture.” Being crowned Miss Indian World is something Thomas never pictured herself doing, even a year ago. She described running for Miss Indian World as a “whirlwind” and “exciting.”

However, Thomas was nurtured to take on leadership positions since the age of 11. She always considered herself an athlete and was encouraged and supported by her family, especially her mom, Wendy Farmer.

Her first leadership position she traveled to Australia and New Zealand to play basketball overseas as a People to People Sports Ambassador. It was her first chance to not only represent herself and the Tribes, but to represent the United States. Ever since then she has had the sense of adventure to see the world.

While attending high school she was actively involved in basketball and softball. She attended boarding school in Oklahoma ran by the Cherokee Nation. Her fellow students were passionate about the betterment of Indian Country and inspired her. She graduated in 2010 from Pocatello High School and was an NDN Scholar as a senior.

She went to college at Idaho State University and was invited to attend the National Congress of American Indians Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She applied for a NCAI youth position and served for two years. Her leadership experience there prepared her to run for Miss Sho-Ban.

As Miss Sho-Ban, she felt like she took off running and was keeping busy trying new things and going to new places. It was important to her to visit communities who supported the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.

She was nervous to run for Miss Indian World, but many signs along the way encouraged her. Thomas’s main goal at the Miss Indian World pageant was to only win best personal interview. She accomplished that goal along with gaining the title.

The former Miss Indian World told Thomas the crown goes where it’s needed most. She was very happy to bring it home. A video of her talent, presenting the Shoshone-Bannock Traditional ’49, was shown to the audience. Thomas expressed her gratitude to her family for helping her orchestrate it.

Thomas explained her platform as Miss Indian World was to promote Native pride amongst Native women and girls and encourage them to take on leadership roles.

Thomas was given several gifts for her accomplishment, including a luggage set, flowers, coin purse, Pendleton, gift basket, photo cake, Cedar Spa package, framed picture, wing dress and beaded scarf.

Thomas was congratulated afterwards by the community and took time shaking their hands and posing for pictures.

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