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Kippenberger savors final moments as Miss Indian World

Kippenberger was asked to be part of the final night’s grand entry of dancers to mark her last moments as Miss Indian World on April 30. (Photo Damon Scott)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Seminole Tribe’s Cheyenne Kippenberger ceremoniously ended her unprecedented reign as 2019-2021 Miss Indian World April 28 to April 30 at the Gathering of Nations powwow in Albuquerque. Kippenberger talked to scores of fans from across Indian Country, took hundreds of photos and made several special appearances.

The two-day powwow and Miss Indian World competition returned after being dormant since 2019 due to the pandemic. Thousands of eager attendees welcomed back dancers, musicians, vendors and the 2022 Miss Indian World contestants to the Expo New Mexico fairgrounds and inside Tingley Coliseum for grand entries and the crowning of the new Miss Indian World.

Kippenberger, from the Hollywood Reservation, made history in 2019 when she became the first member of the Seminole Tribe to be crowned Miss Indian World. The pandemic would make her reign historic, too, as her reign was extended for an additional year. Kippenberger is the only Miss Indian World who has ever served more than one term.

“I appreciate all of you who came to share this with me. Being here is such a full-circle moment,” Kippenberger said at an appearance at the Stage 49 music venue April 30. “Pageantry is about empowering yourself and taking the things that you learn and the experiences you get to have and sharing that with younger people. I just appreciate the opportunity to be here and to be part of what Gathering of Nations is and uplift the next contestants that are here competing. Walk proudly. You are strong, you are powerful and you are capable.”

As part of Kippenberger’s final appearances as Miss Indian World, the Gathering of Nations organization broadcast a video montage of her reign onto big screens inside Tingley Coliseum. The video included an interview with her father and “pageant dad,” Joe Kippenberger.

Kippenberger was also at the front of the final night’s grand entry, joining hundreds of dancers and drummers from across Indian Country.  Soon after, Tashina Red Hawk (Sicangu Lakota Nation/Rosebud Sioux Tribe) was crowned the 2022-2023 Miss Indian World.

Several tribal members made the trek from Florida to support Kippenberger, and to see two Seminole musicians perform on Stage 49 – Doc Native and Carradine Billie.

Editor’s note: For additional coverage of Kippenberger’s experience and the tribe’s presence at Gathering of Nations, check back to seminoletribune.org and see the May 31, 2022, print edition of the Seminole Tribune.

Kippenberger, left, and her father, Joe, watch a video created to mark her Miss Indian World journey. (Photo Damon Scott)
From left are Wanda Bowers, Kippenberger and Hollywood Board Rep. Christine McCall at Gathering of Nations. (Photo Damon Scott)
Doc Native performs on Stage 49 outside Tingley Coliseum on April 30. (Photo Damon Scott)
Carradine Billie performs on Stage 49 outside Tingley Coliseum on April 29. (Photo Damon Scott)
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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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