Sunday Plumb crowned Miss Cherokee 2014-15

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
08/28/2014 01:11 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Sunday Plumb of Tahlequah was named Miss Cherokee 2014-15 at a leadership competition held Aug. 23 at the Cornerstone Fellowship Church.

Plumb, a University of Arkansas senior, receives a $3,000 scholarship, and for the next year will represent the Cherokee Nation as a goodwill ambassador to promote the government, history, language and culture of the Cherokee people.

The 21-year-old competed against four young women for the crown. During the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, contestants were judged on their use of the Cherokee language, cultural and platform presentations as well as impromptu interviews.

“It was such an honor to compete with all of these women. I truly believe every single one of them would be an awesome candidate, but I’m really excited I won,” Plumb said. “It’s such an awesome feeling to be able to represent the Cherokee Nation as Miss Cherokee.”

Plumb is the daughter of Loyal and Susan Plumb of Tahlequah. She is studying animal science at Arkansas. She is a member of the university’s Native American Student Association and volunteers for Girls Scouts of America. She enjoys gathering traditional foods, shooting blowguns, weaving baskets and making Cherokee tear dresses.

For her cultural presentation, Plumb explained the history and cultural significance of the tear dress using a dress she made.

“It took be approximately 41 hours to complete my tear dress,” she said.

For her platform, she wants to tackle the issue of low graduation and retention rates of Native Americans in college compared to other ethnicities. She said a program that brings together Cherokee college students with high school juniors and seniors to tell them what they can expect in a college environment, both socially and academically, would help retain Cherokee students and help them graduate.

“The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that for every 100 Native American or Alaska Native kindergarteners, only seven will earn a bachelor’s degree, opposed to 34 out of every 100 Caucasian kindergartners. Although academics are an issue, I don’t think it’s the main cause of the high Native American dropout rate,” Plumb said. “I believe Native Americans have a hard time staying in college for many reasons – not being prepared to maintain your own schedule, adjusting to much less family time, not knowing how to properly study in a college environment, having too much or too little social time and encountering negative attitudes towards Natives that you’re not used to dealing with.”

She said many Native American students she has spoken to experienced surprisingly negative attitudes about Native American cultures. Instead of getting frustrated, she said it’s up to Native students to help change those negative perceptions.

“If I had prepared for these interactions, I would have had a smoother start to my college career,” she said. “Because Cherokees are very familial, it’s a hard transition from being around your extended family constantly to being around people you don’t know.”

Miss Cherokee first runner-up was Ja-Li-Si Pittman, 20, of Tahlequah, who earned a $2,000 scholarship. Second runner-up was Nina Ashley Hopton, 22, of Salina, who earned a $1,000 scholarship. The other contestants were Elizabeth Burns, 18, of Claremore; and Ashley Miller, 21, of Stilwell.

Pittman is attending Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and majoring in cellular biology. Hopton attended Rogers State University in Claremore and graduated in May after studying general liberal arts, Native American studies and elementary education.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᏂᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ.—Sunday Plumb ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎡᎯ ᎠᏥᏍᏚᎳᏅ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏔ ᏒᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏅᎦᏚ ᎠᎴ ᏍᎩᎦᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏔᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎶᏂ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏦᎢᏁᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏅᏏᏴᏅᏯ ᏧᎾᏓᏟᏐᏗ ᏧᏂᎳᏫᏍᏗᎢ.

Plumb, ᎾᎿ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏙᏧᏯᏓᏛᎢ ᏓᏕᎶᏆ ᎠᎴ senior ᏗᎦᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᏕᎧᏂᏙ, ᎤᎩᏒ ᏦᎢ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᏐᎢ ᏩᏕᏘᏴᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᏛᏁᎮᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎦᏅᏏᏓ ᎠᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏩᏥᏂ, ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅᏅ, ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏌᏊ ᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏔ ᎤᏖᎳᏛ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏅᎩ ᎾᏂᎥ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᎾᏔ ᎾᎿ ᎨᏥᏍᏚᎶᏗᎢ. ᎾᎿᏃ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏔ ᏗᏓᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ, ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎩ ᏕᎨᎫᎪᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏚᎳᏏᏛ ᎠᎾᏛᏛᎮᏢᏍᎬ ᎾᎴ ᎤᏟᏍᏗᏊ ᎠᎦᏛᏛᎮᏢᏗ ᏱᎩ.

“ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎣᏣᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ. ᎠᏉᎯᏳᏐ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏏᏴᏫᎭ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏃᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᎴᏗᎢ ᏱᎨᎦᏑᏰᏎ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎦᎵᏣᎵᎦ ᎠᏆᏓᏠᏒ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Plumb. “ᎢᎦᎢ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏛᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎦᎦᏥᏛᏁᏗ ᎯᎠ ᎥᏆᏑᏱᏒᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏔ.”

Plumb ᏧᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᎤᏙᏓ Loyal ᎠᎴ Susan Plumb ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᏁᎯ. ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏙᏃ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᎦᎾᏝᎢ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏗᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏚᏯᏓᏛᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. ᎨᎳᏃ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎻᎵᎧ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏓᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎬ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ Scouts ᎠᎺᎵᎧ. ᎤᎸᏉᏓ ᎢᎾᎨ ᎤᏛᏒᏅ ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎤᏯᏍᏗ ᎤᏩᏟᏐᏗ, ᏚᏇᏍᏗ ᏧᏍᏓᏲᏍᏙᏗ, ᏧᏩᏗ ᏔᎷᏥ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏬᏢᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᏧᎾᏌᏃᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᏃᎮᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ, Plumb ᎤᏃᎮᎸ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏃᏢᏍᎬ ᎠᏌᏃ ᏧᏌᏃᎲᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏣᎦᎸᏗ ᎠᏌᏃ.

“ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎤᏱᎵᏙᎸ ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏌᏃ ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᏅᎦᏍᎪ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᏩᏥ ᎤᏪᏅᏍᏓ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎤᏱᎵᏙᎸ ᎤᏍᏆᏙᏅ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏌᏃ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.

ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏃᎮᎸ, ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎠᏂᎦᏲᏟ ᏓᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬ Ꮭ ᏱᏚᎾᏙᎵᏤᎰᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᎵᏏᏅᏛ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏧᏂᎶᏒᎢ.

ᎤᏛᏅᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏚᏏᏁ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎳᏚᏏᏁ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏗᎧᏃᎯᏎᏗ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏂᏛᎾᏛᏁᎵᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏂᏓᎦᎵᏍᏔᏂᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ, ᎢᏧᎳ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ, ᎡᎵᏊ ᏳᎵᏍᏕᎳ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᎪᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏧᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗᎢ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ conference of State Legislatures ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎾᏅᏁ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎾᏂᎥ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎻᎵᎧ ᎠᎴ Alaska ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ, ᎦᎵᏉᎦᏊ ᏓᏂᏁᏍᎪ bachelor’s degree, ᎠᏂᏐᎢᏃ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏅᎩ ᏓᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎤᏁᎦ ᏧᏂᏁᎦᎵ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ. ᏙᎯᏳᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏓᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ, ᏝᏃ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎬᏂᏏ ᏱᎨᎵᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏁᎯ ᎠᎻᎵᎧ ᎠᏂᏐᎵᎪᎬᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Plumb. “ᎠᏉᎯᏳᏐ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎻᎵᎧ ᏍᏓᏱ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎭ ᏂᎬᏂᏱᎵᏐ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏂᎬᎿᏏᏍᎪᎢ--- Ꮭ ᎧᎵ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎨᏐ ᏂᎬᏂᏱᎵᏐ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ, ᎤᏓᏁᏟᏴᏍᏗ ᎦᏲᏟᎨ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ, ᏄᎾᏅᏛᎾ ᎧᎵ ᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ, ᎦᏲᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏗ ᏗᏟᏃᎮᏟᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᎰᏍᎬ ᏃᏒᎾ ᏚᎾᏓᏁᏛ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᏒᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎰᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏍᏓᏱ ᎤᏦᏎᏍᏗ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎰᎢ.”

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎻᎵᎧ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏟᏃᎮᏔᏅ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏂᏚᎾᏓᏅᏛᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᏛᎩᏍᎬᎢ. ᎤᏂᎾᎸᎪ ᎾᎾᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬᎾ ᎨᏐ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎬᏩᏂᏁᏟᏴᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᎢᏳᏃ ᎠᏆᏛᏅᎢᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ, ᎦᏌᎧᎯᎨ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏯᏆᎴᏅᎮ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ. “ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏚᎾᏓᏅᏙ, ᏍᏓᏱ ᎤᏓᏁᏟᏴᏍᏗ ᎣᏓᏅᏛ ᏂᏛᎪᎸᎬᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎥᏙᎲᎢ.”

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏔ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ Ja-Li-Si Pittman, 20, ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎡᎯ, ᎾᎿ ᏚᎩᏒ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎠᏕᎸ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ. ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ Nina Ashley Hopton, 22, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎼᎯ ᎡᎯ, ᎾᎿ ᏚᎩᏒ ᏌᏊ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ. ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᎾᏘ ᎤᎾᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ Elizabeth Burns, 18, ᎾᎿ ᎦᎴᎼ ᎡᎯ; ᎠᎴ Ashley Miller, 21, ᎾᎿ ᏍᏗᎵᏪᎵ ᎡᎯ.

Pittman ᏓᏕᎶᏆᎢ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᏍᎬ cellular biology. Hopton ᏚᏕᎶᏆᎥ Rogers State University ᎾᎿ ᎦᎴᎼᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏍᏆᏛᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏍᎬᏘ ᎧᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ general liberal arts, ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎻᎵᎧ ᎠᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᏧᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅᎢ.

About the Author
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. 

For many years h ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. For many years h ...

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