Mississippi’s 73rd annual Choctaw Indian Fair is right around the corner, and the reigning Choctaw Princess has been active in promoting the tribe’s culture throughout the past year.
Cadence Raine Nickey earned the crown in 2022 after having the highest score out of the other contestants in the competition.
Nickey acquired the winning title after participating in an interview process the day prior to the crowning ceremony, delivering a presentation, undergoing a dress review, and answering questions on ceremony night.
After earning the honor, Nickey began traveling to various schools in Mississippi and Tennessee to educate youth on the Choctaw Indian culture. She was also able to attend other community events as an ambassador for the tribe.
“I’ve been able to go to a lot of public schools to give presentations about our culture — especially during Native American Heritage Month — that was probably the biggest one,” Nickey said on Good Things with Rebecca Turner. “Within our tribe and Neshoba County, I’ve attended ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings.”
When presenting to those unfamiliar with her culture, Nickey enjoys educating people on the Choctaw language as well as social dancing.
Rooted in deep tradition, Nickey familiarized herself with the native language out of a necessity to communicate with her grandmother who did not speak English. As for traditional dancing, the princess’s mother would have her fully prepared to perform by the time the Choctaw Fair began to roll into town.
“She only spoke Choctaw. She didn’t know English or anything. So, growing up, I had to learn my language in order to be able to communicate with her,” Nickey added. “Our social dancing — my mom, she would get me and my brother in the living room and make us practice. Once fair time came around, we were ready to dance, and she would always dress us up and have us in our full regalia.”
As an ambassador for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Nickey was able to travel to New Mexico and attend the Gathering of Nations pow-wow. She had the opportunity to fellowship with Native Americans from all over North America who were there to celebrate their culture.
“I got to watch the pow-wows, and they have a Miss Indian World Pageant,” Nickey continued. “We had two former princesses that competed there, and I got to watch that.”
Though Nickey has been encouraged to join her predecessors in competing in the largest nationwide pow-wow, she has yet to decide whether or not she will participate in that capacity.
Nickey is now on her media tour and will continue to travel the state to share more about her culture with the public.
The Choctaw Indian Fair is scheduled to take place in Philadelphia from July 12-15. A new princess will be crowned on July 12.
Watch the full interview with Nickey below.
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