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Miss Navajo Beauty Pageant Contestants Must Butcher Sheep, Speak Navajo


(Photo: Donovan Shortey)

There she is, Miss Navajo. In 2012, Leandra Thomas, who is pictured above, won that coveted title. There's no swimsuit competition at this beauty pageant conducted by the Navajo Nation. Contestants wear traditional garb and have to demonstrate a facility with the language and essential skills. For example, Miss Navajo knows how to butcher a sheep properly. Laurel Morales wrote in 2012 for NPR:

One petite woman struggles to lift an enormous, slippery stomach out of her sheep. Judges circle and scrutinize.

Immediately after the women finish, they must answer impromptu questions in Navajo, like, "What are you supposed to do with the sheep's head?"

One contestant answers, "Wrap it in aluminum foil and put it on the fire."

The crowd boos in response because they don't like her answer — and because she switches to English. The event is intended to show whether these women can multitask, stay calm under pressure and most importantly, first-time contestant Wallitta Begay says, prove their understanding of Navajo customs.

-via Messy Nessy Chic


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