Representing a Whole Community

 

Crystal Kewageshig

The old saying, "never judge a book by its cover" is disproven when it comes to Crystal Marie Kewageshig of Saugeen First Nation.

Dressed in her traditional jingle dress she is the epitomy of aboriginal beauty and intelligence and, at 25, she has conquered hurdles that few will ever face.

At 17, Kewageshig was diagnosed with a brain tumour and surgery caused her to miss a year of school.   Undeterred, she completed her high school education through correspondence. Today, she holds a diploma in Early Childhood Development and is also an honours student in her third year of Psychology and will be attending Laurentian University in Sudbury in the fall.

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Each year, she performs as a traditional dancer at the Saugeen First Nation Pow Wow but, this year, she is moving on to an even bigger goal. After submitting an essay of why she should be chosen as Miss Indian World an two letters of reference, she was accepted as a contestant in the Miss Indian World competition being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 22 - 26. "I don't know the exact number of contestants," says Kewageshig, "but they are coming from all over Canada and the United States, including Alaska."

The criteria for competitors ranges from an ability for public speaking and ability to handle private interviews to traditional talent and dance. It also includes role-modeling skills and knowledge about individual tribes.

There will be approximately 30,000 attending the Pow Wow, from all over North America but, when it comes to the Miss World competition, each competitor has to stand on her own merits and must also raise the funds to attend by selling a minimum of 500 raffle tickets.

"I've been very fortunate," Kewageshig says. "Saugeen First Nation is partially sponsoring me in this competition and we've had over 20 donations of prizes for the raffle draw that's gong to be held on April 23 at the Gathering of Nations. This is a real honour for me and I'm very excited."

To date, (Apr. 18), Kewageshig has sold 700 tickets and anyone wanting to sponsor this special young lady can obtain raffle tickets at the Saugeen First Nation Band Office or at the gas outlet by calling 519-797-1402