By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
A recent break-in that occurred in the Campus Union Building on the Eastern New Mexico University campus has marred the upcoming Miss Native ENMU pageant scheduled for mid-November.
“It was devastating,” said Diana Cordova, director of Multi-cultural Affairs at ENMU.
During the Peanut Valley Festival, the crown was one of several items stolen during the break-in. Several vendors and offices in the CUB were also affected by the break-in, according to previous media reports.
Valued at $2,500, the sterling silver crown which is used each year in the Miss Native ENMU Pageant stands as a symbol of culture and heritage. The crown itself could be made from other materials such as white gold or diamonds, but it wouldn’t be the same, said Laura Shorty, director of Native Affairs at ENMU.
“We prefer sterling silver because it is from Mother Earth and very traditional,” Shorty said.
With the upcoming pageant, the Native Affairs office has been working hard to locate someone that can make a new crown. Fundraisers are also taking place to help defray replacement costs, Shorty said.
Though the deadline has passed to place orders for the groups recent Navajo Taco sale, another sale will be held at the end of November. The deadline to order will be Nov. 28, with delivery Nov. 30. Cost of the tacos is $5 per plate or $2 for fry bread only, Shorty said.
All proceeds will be used to replace the crown, Shorty said.
Members of the Student Senate and other ENMU departments, faculty and staff have come together to help in securing a new crown, Cordova said.
“We are working very hard. Everyone has come together,” Cordova said.
The bearer of the crown is able to visit her home and represent not only herself, but also ENMU. While out in the community, the Miss Native ENMU representative is able to talk to others about ENMU, her experiences at school and what she hopes to accomplish in the future, Shorty said.
“She’s (Miss Native ENMU) is a positive image, representing herself, her people and the school,” Shorty said.
Two contestants will be vying for the honor of Miss Native ENMU. The pageant will take place Nov. 12 through the 14 in the Becky Sharp Auditorium. Contestants will participate in public speaking, a question-and-answer session, a talent contest and a talent outfit competition, Shorty said.