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Tribal Council praises Cheyenne Kippenberger as her Miss Indian World reign ends

Cheyenne Kippenberger, of the Hollywood Reservation, has served as Miss Indian World for two years. Her reign will end April 24, 2021.

HOLLYWOOD – Cheyenne Kippenberger made the Seminole Tribe mighty proud when she won the Miss Indian World competition in April 2019.

For the past two years the tribe has had plenty of reasons to continue to be proud of the first Seminole to win MIW as she represented the tribe throughout Indian Country, the nation and beyond.  

During a virtual special Tribal Council meeting Wednesday, Seminole leaders expressed their appreciation. After Kippenberger delivered a farewell address, they praised her for the work she did during her reign, which will end Saturday with a special ceremony at the Gathering of Nations virtual pow wow.

“You represented the tribe well. We were always behind you here and I think everyone in the community was behind you. There was never any doubt that we were just as excited as you were, if not more, for this opportunity to be on the world stage,”  Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. said to Kippenberger.

“You have represented the Seminole Tribe throughout the world and you did a fantastic job,” President Mitchell Cypress said.

Kippenberger, from the Hollywood Reservation, made the most of her tenure. She participated in more than 130 events as MIW.  She traveled to 10 states and outside the country. She spoke to a Congressional committee about Native youth and mental health, participated in powwows and parades, attended the Miss USA pageant, helped open the Guitar Hotel, spoke at symposiums and met government leaders. The city of El Reno, Oklahoma, thought so highly of her that they handed her the key to the city and proclaimed a day in her honor. Through it all, she kept her Seminole traits as the foundation to her reign.

“For the past two years, I have had the honor of representing my family, the Gathering of Nations organization, Native and Indigenous people globally, but especially the Seminole Tribe of Florida. I’ve consistently reminded myself to carry the spirit and teachings of who we are throughout my reign and show not only Indian Country, but the entire world who the Unconquered Seminole Tribe of Florida is,” she said to the council.  

When the pandemic forced the cancelation of Gathering of Nations in 2020 and the naming of a new MIW, Kippenberger stepped up and accepted the opportunity to serve a second year.

“Us, as a tribe, couldn’t pick a better person like you to represent us as a tribe around the world,” Brighton Councilman Larry Howard said.

Kippenberger, who was named Miss Florida Seminole in 2018, is the daughter of Joe and Susan Kippenberger and the granddaughter of Lawanna Osceola-Niles (1960 Miss Florida Seminole). Her family is of the Panther Clan. 

“I couldn’t have done it without my community and my family,” she said.

“Not only have you represented the Seminole Tribe and all the Native Americans around the country, but you also represented your parents very well, and I’m sure they’re very proud of you. We’re all proud of you, also,”  Big Cypress Councilman David Cypress said.

During her farewell comments to the council, Kippenberger held up hand-carved items that she purchased for each council member during a trip to New Zealand with her father.  

Before becoming MIW, Kippenberger had already earned an accounting degree from Keiser University. She plans to add to her education by returning to college for communications and public health with a career goal to help the tribe.  

“I plan to continue to empower, uplift and support my community and Indian Country,” she said.

She thanked the Tribal Council for its support. She said that even though she is the first Seminole MIW, she doesn’t expect to be the last; the council agreed.

“You’ve really given these young ladies around here in Seminole country something to look up to,” Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola said. “You’ve given them a role model.”

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. He also worked for more than a decade in management and public relations for a hockey program in New England that produced several college and NHL players. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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