- By Chickasaw Nation Media
Faithlyn Taloa Seawright is ending her First American pageant career as the 2024 Miss Indian Oklahoma. As Miss Indian Oklahoma, Seawright is representing all 39 tribes in the state of Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women (OFIW).
“I look forward to being a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women,” Seawright said. “This is a big responsibility. I will encourage cultural and education programs, and promote true Indigenous imagery in First American communities today. I plan on visiting or meeting someone from each of the tribes.”
During the selection process, Seawright’s platform was “What is language revitalization and how YOU can help.” Language revitalization is dear to Seawright’s heart. She is currently a participant in the Chickasaw Nation’s Chikasha Academy Adult Immersion Program, a three-year course in which participants learn to speak conversational Chickasaw and how to teach the language.
“Language revitalization is important,” Seawright said. “There are fewer than 30 fluent Chickasaw speakers. It is imperative for our communities to take action in learning and speaking their languages, to maintain a strong connection with our ancestors/elders, and to keep our identity as Indigenous people. Upon graduation, I want to teach the Chickasaw language.”
Seawright, a Chickasaw citizen, has been involved in First American princess pageants for nearly 15 years. She has represented numerous First American organizations, including the Chickasaw Nation twice. She was selected as Chickasaw Jr. Princess for 2013-2014 and Chickasaw Princess for 2021-2022.
“This is my sixth title,” Seawright said. “This is important to me. It is a position I wanted. I believe in the mission of the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women. I am excited for the year ahead.”
Seawright began her run in pageantry when she was selected as the All Nations Pow Wow Princess of Ada 2011-2013, American Heart Association 2014-2015, Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma in 2015, Miss Indian Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2018 and is currently serving as Miss Indian Oklahoma.
“I have already been Junior Miss Oklahoma, and I knew I wanted to be Miss Indian Oklahoma,” Seawright said. “I ran three times for this title. The third time was the charm. I am the first Chickasaw to have been selected in both age categories.
“When you have a title such as this, you can voice your opinion at another level. I can bring attention to many different topics. I want to use my voice to bring attention to issues of Indigenous communities.”
Seawright is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in museum studies. Her plans include pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Indigenous peoples law.
Before winning the title of Miss Indian Oklahoma, Seawright was already a lifetime member of the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women.
Seawright is the daughter of Gwen Burris and Larry Seawright. The name “Taloa,” meaning “to sing” in the Chickasaw language, was given to her by her grandmother, Mildred Bohanon-Burris. From an early age, Seawright became active in Chickasaw Nation programs.
“I encourage all of our young women and girls to get into Indigenous pageantry,” Seawright said. “It is a way to grow in self-confidence, to make new friends, to share your language and culture (while) gaining new experiences.”
At 25, Seawright has maintained the title to many princess pageants, and after more than 10 years on the pageant circuit believes she may be aging out of future pageants.
“One of the most special memories for me is having been selected to serve the Chickasaw Nation as both the Chickasaw Jr. Princess and then as Chickasaw Princess as an adult,” Seawright said. “Nothing is more important to me than representing the Chickasaw Nation with pride and dignity.”
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