In February 2015 the American Indian Exposition retired the title of Miss American Indian Exposition until the organization could review and revise the title. In January 2016 the Officers and Tribal Directors had voted to revive the title but to change several requirements of the title. First it would be open to all tribal young women in Oklahoma. It had formerly been selected only from the tribal princesses. At one time in its history it had been a penny a vote and in 2012 it was changed to be a competition pageant among the tribal princesses. Second the organization voted to mentor young tribal women in supporting their education and the organization then included a scholarship to the winner and she would require to be in college or college bound.
In February 2016 the organization opened up the pageant by a call for candidates. The date for the pageant was set for May 7, 2016.
Several young ladies applied. The organization then opted to select from the two young ladies based on GPA and an essay written on their platform.
On March 18, 2016 the 2016 Miss American Indian Exposition was announced and Marquela was introduced to the public.
The American Indian Exposition has selected the 2016 MISS AMERICAN INDIAN EXPOSITION, Marquela “Nuh-nuh-tsi” Pewewardy. Marquela Pewewardy. In the competition, Marquela represented the Comanche Nation. She was selected from several applicants to represent the American Indian Exposition and the community as an Ambassador of Goodwill for one year.
Miss American Indian Exposition 2016, Marquela Pewewardy is 17 years old. She is the daughter of Sonya Palmer (Kiowa) and Curtis Pewewardy (Comanche). Marquela’s paternal grandparents are Wesley and Janice Pewewardy. Her maternal grandfathers are Darwin Palmer and Reginal Greco. Marquela has one brother, John Poolaw Jr and one sister, Jonnik Palmer On her paternal side she is a descendant of Chief Wild Horse. Her Comanche name “Nuh-nuh-tsi” means “Precious Girl”. Marquela currently attends Elgin High School. She plans in the future to attend Oklahoma University. Her major will be in Digital Graphics and her future goal is to be an entrepreneur.
Marquella has been on the Honor Roll and the Superintendents Honor Roll. She was selected for Soaring Above The Rest. Her other community activities include the Walters Service Club and a member of IAMNDN. Her hobbies are beading, cooking, pottery and she loves to read, dance & sing cultural songs and she says that she knows & sings both Comanche & Kiowa hymns. She is a member of Petarsy United Methodist Church.
The Miss American Indian Exposition Scholarship pageant included a platform and Marquela chose “Being Drug Free”. Part of her time will be spent speaking on behalf of her platform as well as attending dances and bridging a greater understanding of the Native American culture in the community.
The history of the title goes back to the 1930’s when the first young woman was selected to represent the American Indian Exposition, Imogene Carter. It has been revived several times and has years of titleholders. The current Officers & Tribal Directors of the American Indian Exposition have revived the title but have changed the selection process. The title was retired in 2015 until the organization could review and improve the role of Miss American Indian Exposition. The Board revived the title in January 2016 and opened the competition to any young tribal member who would want to compete. It had been a closed title for tribal princesses only. The Board agreed that the title should be one to mentor young Native American women in education and voted to include a scholarship.
Director of Miss American Indian Exposition is Janis Wermy and the Co-Director is Lucinda Poahway, President, American Indian Exposition. Marquela Honor Dance is scheduled for May 1, 2017, Watchtaker Hall, Comanche Complex, Lawton, OK . The Directors can be contacted by writing Miss American Indian Exposition c/o American Indian Exposition, PO Box 453, Anadarko, Oklahoma or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.