2015-2016 Chickasaw Princesses Crowned at Annual Pageant
ADA, Okla. – While judges said all contestants were outstanding, three young ladies were deemed to possess the exceptional qualities needed to be crowned Chickasaw Royalty during the 2015-2016 Chickasaw Nation Princess Pageant. The annual pageant was conducted at the Ada High School Cougar Activity Center Monday, Sept. 28.
Raechell Meely, 17, of Sulphur, Oklahoma was crowned Chickasaw Princess; Lauren John, 13, of Ada, was awarded the title of Chickasaw Junior Princess, and Lauren Key, 11, of Sulphur, claimed the Little Miss Chickasaw title. Each winner was congratulated by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel.
"It is a source of great joy to see these young ladies join the elite group of Chickasaws who have worn the crown of Chickasaw royalty," said Gov. Anoatubby. "We believe all of these extraordinary young ladies will be excellent goodwill ambassadors of the Chickasaw Nation because they exemplify the best qualities of what it means to be Chickasaw. It is our hope that this will be a great learning experience for each of them."
Raechell is a senior at Sulphur High School. She is the daughter of Mitchell Meely and Paula Wallace. The newly crowned Chickasaw Princess has been an active participant and volunteer at the Chickasaw Boys & Girls Club, Chickasaw Cultural Center and Ardmore Soup Kitchen.
"I am very blessed and proud to call myself a Chickasaw citizen. As part of the future Chickasaw Nation, I believe it is important that we preserve and share our culture to keep it alive and flourishing," she said. "I will carry this title with honor and integrity. I will represent the Chickasaw Nation in the best way possible, and take this opportunity to learn more about our flourishing and thriving nation. I hope to not only make my family and community proud, but our Chickasaw people and elders as well," she added.
Lauren John is in the eighth grade at Ada Junior High School. She is the daughter of Thomas and Lisa (Brown) John. Lauren enjoys participating in clubs and organizations through her school and by being involved in the Chickasaw Nation.
"It will be an honor to represent the Chickasaw Nation. I also believe it will be a great opportunity for me, and it will be fun to share this experience with two other Chickasaw girls," she said. "The more I learn about the history of the Chickasaw people, I hope to share with others so they can enjoy learning about Chickasaw history, too. I am proud to be Chickasaw and proud of our tribe," she stated.
Lauren Key is in the sixth grade at Sulphur Junior High School. She is the daughter of Joshua Key and Summer Jones. Lauren is an active member of the Chickasaw Youth Club.
"Learning more of the Chickasaw language is very important. I hope to one day be able to speak more Chickasaw," she said. "I am able to accomplish one of my goals in becoming Little Miss Chickasaw."
She said she looks forward to "traveling across America as an ambassador representing the Chickasaw Nation," educating people about the tribe, its heritage, history and culture as well as relating how strong Chickasaw leadership has resulted in success of the tribe and its citizens."
Participants were judged on poise, presence, traditional dress, talent performance and random interview questions.
The winners receive a crown, sash, trophy and gifts to prepare them for the upcoming year.
During their one-year reign these dynamic young ladies will take courses on language, culture and the history of the Chickasaw people. In addition to serving as young ambassadors of the Chickasaw Nation, the 2015-2016 princesses will see many places, serve as role models and represent the Chickasaw people.
The reign of a Chickasaw Princess has been a Chickasaw Nation tradition since the 1960s. Chickasaw Princesses have historically played a vital role in representing the tribe.