ADA — Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby crowned three young ladies Chickasaw royalty during the 2019-2020 Chickasaw Nation Princess Pageant, held in conjunction with the 2019 Chickasaw Nation Annual Meeting and Festival.
“We believe these exceptional young ladies will be outstanding goodwill ambassadors of the Chickasaw Nation,” Anoatubby said. “It is inspiring to see them take such great pride in our culture. We hope their time representing the Chickasaw Nation at events across the country will provide memorable learning experiences that will enrich their lives.”
Eighteen-year-old Stonewall native Markita Rose McCarty was crowned Chickasaw Princess. She is the daughter of Mark and Rose McCarty and graduated from Stonewall High School in May. She is a freshman at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work. She received a certificate of completion at Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada before venturing to Tulsa. She hopes to complete her education at the University of Oklahoma.
Brenlee Underwood, a 12-year-old Byng Elementary sixth-grade student and daughter of Brandon White Eagle, of Ada, and Jerilene Underwood, of Stratford, was crowned Chickasaw Junior Princess. Brenlee placed in the Native American Youth Language Fair three years and is a member of the Chickasaw Language Club. She also is a member of Chikasha Bak Bak, a Chickasaw youth stickball team.
Nine-year-old Tishomingo Elementary student Kensey Carter was crowned Little Miss Chickasaw. A fourth-grade student, Kensey is active in the Chickasaw Running Club, cross-country, and Chickasaw Nation Honor Club, is a youth stomp dance participant and is Tishomingo Lions Club’s “Little Indian Cheer.” She also is a member of the Chickasaw Youth Club Players in Progress Team.
“I am hungry to learn about my culture and to teach others about it,” the new Chickasaw Princess said. “Preparing for the pageant is a moment I will always cherish and remember because without my Chickasaw heritage, I would only be a small-town girl.”
For her talent, Markita performed an original gospel song composed entirely in the Chickasaw language. The music was arranged by Phillip Berryhill, Chickasaw Nation choir conductor. Brenlee sang Choctaw Hymn 11, and Kensey told a traditional story of “Little Loksi.” “Loksi” means “turtle” in the Chickasaw language.
Participants in the pageant were judged on talent, poise, traditional Chickasaw dress, traditional greetings and responses to random questions.
During their one-year reign, Chickasaw Nation Princesses will take courses on the language, culture and history of the Chickasaw people. In addition to serving as young ambassadors of the Chickasaw Nation, the 2019-2020 princesses will see many places, serve as role models and represent the Chickasaw people at formal functions nationally.
Winners received a crown, sash, trophy and gifts to prepare them for the upcoming year.
Chickasaw citizen and former 2017 Miss Oklahoma Triana Browne-Hearrell served as mistress of ceremonies for the pageant, held at Ada High School’s Cougar Activities Center. Browne-Hearrell is currently the 2019 Miss Oklahoma USA.
The reign of a Chickasaw Princess has been a Chickasaw Nation tradition since 1963, when Ranell (James) Harry was appointed the first Chickasaw Princess.
The 2018-2019 Chickasaw Nation Princesses, Little Miss Chickasaw Jadyce Burns, Chickasaw Junior Princess LaKala Orphan and Chickasaw Princess Mikayla Hook, ended their reigns with fond memories each shared with pageant attendees. All were honored for their year of service to the Chickasaw Nation.
To watch a replay of the pageant, visit https://annualmeeting.chickasaw.net.