(L to R): 2013-14 Jr. Miss Cherokee LaNice Belcher with 2014-15 Little Cherokee Ambassadors Lauryn McCoy, Ashlin Sutton, Chase Lowrey, Keri Jones and JJ Dodge stand with current Miss Cherokee Julie Thorton.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Brushy Elementary seventh-grader Lauryn McCoy’s presentation on how to make traditional shell shackles for stomp dancing helped earn her the title of Little Cherokee Ambassador on Saturday.
Sixteen Cherokee youths competed in the Little Cherokee Ambassador competition at Sequoyah Schools’ gym.
McCoy, 12, of Sallisaw, correctly answered that the black star in the Cherokee Nation flag represents the Cherokee ancestors who died along the Trail of Tears, and that the next election for principal chief will be in June 2015. Her answers helped her take the crown and sash in the 10- to 12-year-old division.
“I was pretty nervous, but Miss Cherokee told me to just go up on stage and have fun, so that’s what I did,” McCoy said. “It’s going to be fun getting to represent the Cherokee Nation and teach others about my culture.”
Winning in the 4- to 6-year-old division was Keri Jones, 6, and JJ Dodge, 4, who both attend the Cherokee Immersion Charter School in Tahlequah.
Chase Lowrey, 8, of Welling, and Ashlin Sutton, 8, a third-grader at Lowrey School, won in the 7- to 9-year-old division.
Sutton sang “The Star Spangled Banner” in Cherokee to win over judges.
“I drive the boys at school nuts since I’m always singing,” the Tahlequah native said while wearing her copper crown.
The ambassadors accompany Miss Cherokee and Jr. Miss Cherokee to sponsored events and for the next year serve as representatives of the tribe.
The Jr. Miss Cherokee competition is slated for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Armory Building in Tahlequah, and the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition will be held at 6 p.m., Saturday, August 23, at Cornerstone Church in Tahlequah.