by K.J. Lincoln
Lorraine Tom of Chefornak is the newly crowned 2019 Miss Cama-i. Tom, who is 22 years old, was one of two contestants in the Miss Cama-i Cultural Pageant this past weekend.
Runner up is Riannon Watson of Chevak.
Tom, whose Yup’ik name is Cakataar, based her platform on Cultural Preservation through promotion of the Yup’ik language and traditional subsistence activities. She introduced herself in Yugtun and in English on Saturday night in front of a large Cama-i crowd. Tom grew up in Chefornak immersed in the Yup’ik culture including Eskimo dancing.
The two ladies had a busy day of Yup’ik pageantry – completing an essay, an interview, helping serve the Elders food at the Native Foods Dinner, a photo shoot in full regalia, and interacting with Cama-i guests and watching the dance activities in the gym. They also introduced themselves to the audience on stage.
Coordinating the pageant was Kelsey Wallace, 2011 Miss Kuskokwim and Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics.
2018 Miss Cama-i, Maritza Nuglene-Gomez who is Inupiaq with family from White Mountain and Barrow, gave her farewell speech before the coronation. Gomez was named 1st Runner up at the 2018 World Eskimo Indian Olympics pageant.
The Miss Cama-i Cultural Pageant has 3 judges and a scored matrix. Contestants must be at least 1/8 degree Alaskan Native or a member of a recognized Alaskan, American or Canadian Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo tribe. They must be eighteen (18) years of age and less than twenty-four (24) years of age throughout the pageant, never been married or have had any children and has acknowledged, accepted, or signed a sobriety and drug-free pledge.
Both Tom and Watson were given the Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic awards. They were showered with gifts during the coronation ceremony.
“Quyana cakneq for this honor,” said Tom during her acceptance speech.
Miss Cama-i will now move on to participate in the WEIO pageant in Fairbanks this coming July.