Published September 19, 2016
WINDOW ROCK – Outgoing Miss Navajo Alyson Shirley stood next to the final two contestants with the crown she wore all year, waiting to see who would succeed her on Saturday night at the Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena.
When Rodina Jordan from Oak Springs, Arizona was announced first runner up, it became clear
Ronda Joe is the new Miss Navajo
from Rock Point, Arizona would be the next Miss Navajo.
Shirley walked over to an elated Joe and placed the crown on her, as with all previous Miss Navajo coronations.
But then, as Joe smiled to the more than 12,000 in attendance, the Miss Navajo contestants surrounded her and took off the crown Shirley had worn and replaced it with a new one.
Larger than the previous crown, the new one, made by silversmiths Tommy and Marilyn Lowe of Lukachukai, was also more colorful.
The Navajo Nation Seal, painted in yellow, green, blue, and black, was surrounded in turquoise. Atop the seal is a cross; Marilyn Lowe says it represents all religions.
“There are 50 turquoise stones around the seal that represent the fifty states,” Lowe said.
Lowe said she and her husband had little time to create the crown, but luckily they fell back on experience. Her husband had made a Miss Navajo crown in 2007, which was first worn by 2007-2008 Miss Navajo Jonathea Tso from Cove. Other titleholders who have worn the crown Lowe made are Yolanda Charley, Tashina Nelson, and Winifred Bessie Jumbo. Jumbo was the last Miss Navajo who wore the crown from 2010-2011.
Lowe’s crown slightly resembles the first crown he made, except, on this year’s crown, it reads “Miss Navajo,” and not “Miss Navajo Nation.”
According to Office of Miss Navajo program supervisor Dinah Wauneka, the crown cost $2,800 to make.
Unlike the crown Shirley wore, the crown Joe will be wearing depicts stories about the Diné People, Wauneka said. From veterans to the Long Walk, she said the crown illustrates the history of the Diné.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.