Current Queen

Jerika Lementino, Zuni Tribe

Keshi a:ho:i! Ho’ Jerika Lementino leshina. Ho’ asdemɫan Dena’lekkya yaɫdo dedi-kwikya. Hom a:ɫshe:na:we ache Yvette Wyaco , Alonzo Tzuni dap Jonas Wyaco a:leshina. Hom annode:we Ho’ Anshe:kwe deyan Dona:we a: wan cha’le.

Jerika lementino

Jerika lementino, 2017-2018, Zuni Tribe

Hello everyone! My name is Jerika Lementino. I’m 19 years old. From the pueblo of Zuni. My clans are a bear and child of a turkey. My parents are Yvette Wyaco and Alonzo Tzuni I’m the step daughter of Jonas Wyaco. My grandparents are Evans and Colleen Lementino. I’m a freshman here at New Mexico Highlands University. I’m majoring in general engineering. I plan to become an electrician. With my degree I plan to return to my community and help my people have electricity in their homes.



Gathering of Nations 2018, Albuquerque


A short history of Native Queen pageants presented at the 2017 NMHU Pageant

Welcome to the 10th annual Miss Native NMHU Queen Pageant hosted by the NMHU Native American Club.
I have to admit that when I was asked to say a few words and welcome all of our guests to this year’s pageant I realized I did not know much about why this pageant is held every year.
As I did my research, I learned of the nation-wide “Native American pageant to select “Miss Indian America” which ran from 1953 to 1984 and allowed contestants from across the United States to compete for the crown. However, more importantly, I learned that the pageant started as a way to combat prejudices against Native Americans.
Therefore, many of the contestants ran on platforms that were specific to sociopolitical issues that were affecting American Indians at the time. As well as platforms that were more specific, such as promoting American Indian art work, music, or com-bating alcohol and drug abuse in American Indian communities.
Although the winner was an individual from a specific tribe/nation, their responsibility was to represent not only their tribe but also American Indians as a whole.
Through my research I was not able to determine where the idea of American Indian pageants originated, however, I did learn that many tribes and nations have their own pageants and most have the common elements and responsibilities the winner has to maintain and promote such as:
– Preservation of culture
– Educate others on American Indian customs and culture
– To bring American Indian culture to the rest of the world, therefore the pageants were more about selecting someone who would have the ability to be a good public relations person.
– Someone that has a comprehensive knowledge of her people and dedicated to their advancement.
– Someone that has the appearance, personality, and poise to represent her people and American Indians during her reign.
– Someone that holds up standards of woman hood.
– And most importantly to serve as an ambassador with honor and respect.
After learning the true meaning and purpose of this event, I feel honored to welcome all of you to this event and I want to especially congratulate the two young women that have chosen to take on this responsibility on behalf of their community and our university.
Thank you!

Dr. Edward Martinez, Vice President  of Strategic Enrollment Management