Bethel resident Megan Leary is heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico later this month to vie for the title of Miss Indian World. The former Miss Cama-I is preparing and raising money for her trip.
Each contestant competes five areas: public speaking, personal interview, traditional presentation, dance and essay. Leary says she’s exited to represent Alaska.
“There will be girls from all across the nation and Canada and Mexico – different indigenous girls, young ladies my age that will be going and competing. They’ll be going and competing and showcasing their culture, their traditions and their background, where they’re from and their talent and just their knowledge of who we are as indigenous people.”
Leary grew up in Kalskag and Napaimute, and graduated from Bethel Regional High School. She was Miss Cama-i 2013 and went on to become Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics, or Miss Weio. She says she’s putting the finishing touches on her regalia.
“I’m still beading and sewing some of the last of my regalia. You know I made myself an Athabascan dress. I beaded for that. I’m making a pair of Athabascan style mukluks, cause I’m Yup’ik and Athabascan and I have a lot of the Yup’ik regalia already cause growing up here on the Kuskowkwim and so there was a lot of the Athabaskan stuff that I had to make. So there’s a lot of that that I’m still doing and I’m polishing my talent.”
Leary’s talent is skin sewing. She’ll have three minutes to present it to judges.
“I’ll talk about he importance of it culturally, and why we do it and what it means, like your stiches. And the types of materials that you use and what it means to me to be passing this skill on and teaching other people to do it cause it’s something that’s dying out off now that we can just go to the store and buy snow pants or a warm jacket.”
Leary says she is raising money to fund her trip.
“You can go to go fund me dot com and type in my name, Megan Leary, in the search bar and it will pull up my little account and you can just click in there and donate money right there directly through your debit card or bank account.”
Leary will compete in the Miss Indian World Cultural Pageant April 22ndthrough the 26th at the annual Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque. She’s raising $3-thousand dollars to cover, airfare, lodging , transportation and other pageant expenses. She’s raised over 1-thousand dollars as of Monday April 14th.