A woman from Poundmaker Cree Nation is looking to be crowned the latest Miss Indian World.

Delainee Antoine-Tootoosis is currently in Albuquerque New Mexico to take part in the Miss Indian World Pageant, which is part of the Gathering of Nations Powwow. Antoine-Tootoosis said she is looking forward to taking part in the pageant, which features contestants from all over North America.

“I am very excited, but I am very nervous,” she said.

Antoine-Tootoosis explained she is happy to be taking part in the event to help revitalize her knowledge while at the same time helping to revitalize Indigenous culture overall. She said she is also excited to have the chance to share her nation’s specific culture and represent Treaty Six.

“I feel like I come from a very rich in culture nation and I am just excited to share it more and create more awareness for my home,” she said.

Those taking part in the pageant will be evaluated on their performance in a range of categories, which includes a traditional talent portion, dance and public speaking. Contestants also wrote and submitted an essay which will be factored in. The pageant is a demanding one which stretches over five days.

Antoine-Tootoosis said the event is different from what might pop in to many peoples minds when they first hear about it.

“When you think of pageants you do think of beauty pageant(s), but for us its more of like a cultural and traditional, you have to be knowledgeable about your culture and protocols and traditions … to do well,” she said.

Taking part in an event like this is a first for Antoine-Tootoosis, She added one of the major reasons she was interested in entering the pageant was to help inspire the young people who she works with.

“I want them to see me and see that they can do, like anything,” she said.

The Miss Indian World Pageant is open to Indigenous women who are between the ages of 18 and 25. The woman who is bestowed the crown will serve as an ambassador and will have duties which will include travelling around to many cultural events, while also helping to promote the Gathering of Nations Powwow. Antoine-Tootoosis said meeting up with a previous winner of the pageant, Taylor Susan, who won in 2018, also influenced her decision to take part.

“She came to a Round Dance in Poundmaker and we talked a little bit and she told me that I should run and I kind of pondered it for awhile, for a couple of years, I saw the opportunity, I had like a month to get ready and I was like, I am just going to do it, its my last year why not,” she said.

Over 20 women are in the running for the crown, which will be awarded this coming Saturday, April 30.

(Photo submitted by Delainee Antoine-Tootoosis)