SPOTLIGHT: Miss Gallup Inter Tribal Indian Ceremonial Queen
THE WOMEN BEHIND THE CROWN
My name is Lindsay Sandoval and I am Jicarilla Apache from New Mexico. I graduated last year from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelors in Environmental Biology. I like to think I am a very simple young lady; I love playing video games (particularly xbox one), working out and improving my form and strength, going fishing and golfing.
I started pageants when I was a little girl, about 9 years old I went to the Miss Jicarilla Apache pageant and saw a young lady crowned and became a role model for our community. I went with my great grandmother and I remember telling her, “I want to do that grandmama!” So, she told me I can try out next year and taught me what to do and what to expect. She taught me Jicarilla and my grandma, her daughter, taught me how to properly dance powwow instead of jumping around like how I loved to do (haha)! My first pageant was in 2005, about 10-11 years old for the Little Miss Jicarilla Apache. I remember crying when I was crowned and seeing my mom and great grandma sitting in the front row smiling ear to ear, cheering me on!
MISS GALLUP INTER TRIBAL INDIAN CEREMONIAL QUEEN (MGITICQ)
Lindsay describes being crowned as Miss Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Queen as "unexpected!" Walking across the arena she could hear the organization announce the spirit award winner followed by the 1st runner up, which she thought she totally had, but wrong!
They announced the winner, but it did not sink in that they announced “Lindsay Paige Sandoval” until all the contestants looked at me. There were two contestants on each side and I remember ALL of them looking at me at once and saying “Lindsay you won!” Finally, I snapped out of this idea of not winning and said, “wait, I won? I get two awards!” since I was already given the spirit award. The contestants, MGITICQ, and the committee all started laughing at me after I said this! From here I was crowned and I remember wanting to cry because I did not have any of my grandmothers around who taught me everything I know to be there with me in celebration. I managed to keep my composure, knowing they were with me in spirit and are very proud of me.
THE ROAD TO BECOMING MGITICQ
It's a misconception that you have to be of the Navajo tribe to compete for this title. The heart of the pageant takes place at the El Morro Theater and crowning at the Red Rock Park Arena which is very close to the Navajo reservation, but doesn't necessarily restrict any other tribal affiliation to compete.
Applying for this position can be difficult, if you are me. You have to have a modern and traditional picture sent in, write an essay, prepare for a question that has a time restriction, an interview, and lastly a traditional and modern talent. This title you have to prove that you are a member of a Federally Recognized Tribe, and is open to ANY young lady who is interested. Important tip: Traveling is out of pocket as well as getting into the fairgrounds so there is a lot of preparation you have to keep in mind.
WHY IT IS DIFFERENT
I always find it so refreshing to see the MGITICQ program has several events planned out for their contestants during their week. My favorite one to see is the visit to the elderly home and the infamous Queens luncheon. Each program goes far and beyond making their own traditions and as contestants we see the effort and appreciate it!
MGITICQ is different from other pageant programs by the way the pageant is run. When I tried out there was no feeling of competitiveness between the other contestants and we all clicked right away. We even helped each other during our traditional and modern talents! I remember going up to Martha Martinez, who is our 1st runner up, and asking her if I can rehearse my modern talent with her which was doing magic card tricks! She did not hesitate and told me of course! All other pageants I have tried out for had that feeling of just wanting the crown rather than creating this sisterhood that you can’t find anywhere else in the world!
DO YOU WANT TO RUN FOR MGITICQ?
The MGITICQ organization originated in 1912 and is still going strong today! Seeing my friends who have won and passed on their crowns has shown that this program is worth the try! You are tested in so many areas that will benefit you in the future and hey! Who doesn't like walking in a parade! Oh yes, you will be included in one of the towns biggest events every year the Gallup Inter Tribal Indian Ceremonial Parade!
If you are interested in trying out for MGITICQ, do it! Life is too short to live with “should have” and you can always improve in your public speaking, performing, or interview skills. I remember it took me 3 years to become Miss Jicarilla Apache in 2013 because of my lack of knowledge, specifics in the Jicarilla culture. It was hard losing, yes, but if you want something you will work hard to go out and earn it. Remember to have fun with it too, smile, and make a connection with the other contestants. The pageant competition is what you will remember the most and can reflect on in later years.
TO THE READERS
I would just like to add to this is, I had so much fun with this title meeting new people and pursuing my platform of encouraging our youth to get a higher education. Because of this, it went by so quick! I will already be giving my title to another young lady in August! Second weekend in August if you are in the Gallup area, come by and see the ladies who are vying for the 2017 MGITICQ!
The pageant will be August 9-12. First day will be at the Fire Rock Casino for the luncheon which is a small fee to enter. The second day will be free to the public at the El Morro Theater in downtown Gallup for the talent presentations. The last day is the crowning for the new MGITICQ at the Main Arena at Red Rocks State Park.
The application is still available (only to view) on the Gallup ceremonial website at gallupceremonial.com
A special thank you to Lindsay Sandoval for taking the time to answer all of my long questions! You are the first highlight of this series and I couldn't have picked a better candidate. Thank you to everyone who is reading this weeks spotlight! You can follow the rest of Lindsay's journey on the Facebook page: Miss Gallup Inter Tribal Indian Ceremonial Queen