2016 American Indian Pageant

Kari Emm


The annual pow wow and American Indian Pageant at the University of Nevada, Reno are set for April 16-17. Kari Emm, UNR transfer recruitment coordinator, member the Yerington Paiute Tribe, and president of UNR’s Native American Alumni Chapter, said that boys and girls are still welcome to sign up. She added that the group, comprised of volunteers, is seeking raffle donations from the community.

How long has the pageant been held?

This is the fourth annual, since I’ve been president. … I was originally at the Center for Student Cultural Diversity, and I ran the pow wow. … when I became president, I was kind of wondering how we could incorporate ourselves into the pow wow. … I said, ‘Hey, can we do a royalty portion connected to the pow wow?’ So, that’s when it started. So, this group of us has been for four years, but it was previously as well.

And when is this all taking place?

April 16. It’s from 9 to noon. It’s going to be in the Davidson Math and Science Center, room 110 … the pow wow then starts at 1 p.m. on April 16, and it is also on April 17. And it’s going to be at Lawlor Events Center.

And people who are wanting to attend this, how should they go about that? Are there tickets on sale somewhere?

It’s free.

Very cool. So tell me, what are the qualifications to compete in the royalty part?

You just have to be in a certain age category. … To participate, you have to sell raffle tickets. That’s our main fundraiser, and we do this to raise scholarship for American Indian students attending the university. We give out two separate scholarships—one for new, incoming freshman and one as a current American Indian student. We also provide a book fund for American Indian students who maybe can’t purchase books. … Ours is a little bit different than any other royalty, I think—the ones I’ve seen. … What the youth have to do is—they have to sell raffle tickets. … They have to write an essay on how education will support their community. The tiny tots can do a video: what they want to be when they grow up. … And they have to do a talent, which this is the most amazing part of the competition. Last year, we had talents that were amazing—everything from karate to cultural dancing to bead work to sign language to a song. You know, it was amazing, the talent. … I really see this as a leadership-building, confidence-building type of role. You should see our tiny tot. She couldn’t even get up there and talk when she was competing. But you should see her now at the Wolf Pack games. Out in the middle of the arena, and just waving and talking.

I wondered, the title holders, afterward, what special duties they have or what appearances they make throughout the year.

So, Native American Heritage Month is in November, and we have a lot of events during that time, and so we do request that they be there for a lot of that.

And there are six title holders every year? Is that correct?

Yes. The hardest category—the category we have the hardest time filling is the males. … It was a suggestion that we add that because this is not only a royalty pageant, this is a role to say that education is cool, you know. So, we’re having a hard time with the male category, the older one, to get anybody to participate because I think there’s a stereotype that it’s not cool to be that, which is should be. It should be a cool thing. … I’m not sure if we have any males even this pageant.