FORT HALL — Three candidates are vying for the title of Miss Shoshone-Bannock and they are Ontaria Ariwite, Stormie Perdash and Dystnee Rope.
They will be judged on traditional talent August 7 at 6 p.m. with the location to be determined. Contestants will be in the Children’s Parade on August 8 at 10 a.m. Traditional dish presentation is the same day at 5 p.m. at the dance arbor. Dance competition is August 9 at 5 p.m. at the dance arbor followed by the crowning of the new queen at 6 p.m.
Following are the contestant’s information.
Ontaria Ariwite is running for the title of Miss Shoshone-Bannock.
She is a daughter of December Ariwite and is from the Fort Hall District.
Her Indian name is “Good Heart Woman” – a young lady who has a good heart that makes people feel good.
She intends to focus on diabetes awareness if she gets selected to encourage all tribal members to eat health and exercise daily to prevent diabetes.
An experience that attributed to her growth as a young lady is when she won the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Red Dress special at the Gathering of Nations.
Ontaria’s message to youth is to stay off electronics and be active. “Staying active can help you be in shape and be energized. You can have lots of fun playing activities with your friends and family.”
Ontaria has numerous accomplishments: Indian Education program academic achievement; letter for art and a pin; a bar for track and field for four years; lettered in cross country for four years; a pin for Spanish (three years); award for attending Congress of Future Science and Technology leaders; Indian Education program perfect attendance; Blackfoot High School honor roll and government award for art competition.
Royalty titles she has won include: Miss Ethete celebration; Eastern Shoshone Indian Days Princess; Eastern Shoshone Indian Days junior princess; Sho-Ban Festival princess; Fort Duchesne Fourth of July Powwow Princess; Fort Hall Indian Days Princess and Fort Hall Elementary princess.
Her community involvement includes: Ross Fork District clean up; Eagle Lodge District clean up; PTSD awareness; Tommy Vans 5k and Girls on the Run in Fort Hall.
Ontaria’s hobbies include traveling; dancing; drawing; cooking; running and crafting.
Her educational goal is to graduate with a degree from college, have a job and travel everywhere with her family.
She will be dancing traditional and her two grandmothers made her regalia in 1987.
For her traditional dish she is making Bannock bread with a side dish of “bacon juice” with ketchup. Her grandmother taught her how to cook and to prepare her family’s traditional dish. Her grandma taught her when she was Ontaria’s age.
For her traditional talent, Ontaria will demonstrate traditional jingle dancing. “I was taught dancing traditional jingle from my grandma by the age of 13,” she said. “My grandma was taught by two Ojibwe women from Ponemah, Minnesota in 1991.
Stormie Perdash, 23, from the Buffalo Lodge District is vying for the title of Miss Shoshone-Bannock.
Stormie is the daughter of Char Perdash. Her Indian name is Tsaan Na’vi Wa’aipe, which means Good Looking Woman. She is a contemporary style jingle dress dancer.
Her platform as Miss Shoshone-Bannock will be “Breaking the Unhealthy Cycle,” which will focus on obesity and drug and alcohol abuse, which all tend to lead to low self esteem within the Sho-Ban community. Stormie wants to create a life that encompasses healthy living habits and personal confidence, all while being drug and alcohol free. She wants her lifestyle choices to prove to community members how important it is to lead a happy and healthy life.
An experience that’s attributed to her growth is coming across both Native and non-Native cultures throughout her travels.
“I wholeheartedly feel having a strong understanding of both cultures gives you an upper hand in navigating the world we live in today, especially being a Native woman that has entered the modeling industry. Knowing who I am and where I come from helped set me apart from most models. With Native people lacking an accurate and positive presence in Hollywood, I aim to become that positive representation. Being the minority of the minorities can be challenging at times, but knowing I have such a strong support systems, such as Indian Country, gives me the confidence I need to be not only a model, but a positive role model as well,” she explained.
Stormie’s message to youth is to always choose originality over popularity. She said following your passions and dreams might seem funny and childish at times, but it will always set you a part from the pack. Don't be afraid of change and challenges those obstacles will only make you a stronger person in the end.
“By peaking your passions and goals into the universe, it will ultimately lead them to becoming a reality. It is also important to not stray away from our culture, always remember to remain true to who we were always to be as Shoshone-Bannock people,” she said.
Her academic accomplishments include RHS Native Student of the Year, SKC Student of the Year, AA Native American Studies, and AA Tribal Governance.
Previous titles she represented were Shoshone-Bannock Festival Princess, Eastern Shoshone Indian Days Queen, Miss Salish Kootenai College, and Best Dancer at Miss Indian World Pageant in 2016. She’s also a signed model with Rocky Mountain Entertainment Agency and Wunder Models Los Angeles.
As community involvement Stormie supports basketball teams at tournaments. She attended local Sho-Ban High sporting events and assemblies. She dances at local powwows, talks with youth at Fort Hall Recreation and made ribbon vests for Head Start class.
Her hobbies include sewing jingle dresses, and ribbon skirts. She also made both her dresses and beadwork, which she began making when she was 16. She also enjoys beading, traveling, modeling, is a background actor, dancing at powwows and exercising.
She plans on going back to school within the next three years. She would also like to gain more cultural knowledge and become more fluent in the Shoshone language.
Stormie will be making Bannock and dry meat with a side of chokecherry pudding for her traditional dish presentation. She learned to make Bannock from her mom. Her family and her grandpa taught her how to cut and dry meat. She learned to make chokecherries from an elder.
Her traditional talent will be demonstrating the traditional lazy stitch method of beadwork along with sharing traditional Shoshone floral designs.
Dystnee A. Rope is a candidate for Miss Shoshone-Bannock.
She is 18 and from the Gibson District of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Her Indian name is “Ban-Zu-Gu” or otter.
She is a daughter of Darcey A. Trejo.
Her platform is the importance, causes and effects of alcohol abuse within the Native community.
She believes she’s grown from a tiny rose into a full bloom rose, “I’ve gained more confidence, knowledge and wisdom to know that my voice can be heard.”
Her message to youth is to learn from different people and hear their points of view. “Without education, you can’t succeed in life cause everything requires higher education,” she said. “By working hard in school everything pays off in the end.”
Among her achievements, she was crowned Miss Indian Blackfoot High School during her senior year. She danced at various powwows as first attendant. She managed to maintain good grades throughout her senior year. She was involved in many high school clubs including FFA, Indian Club and her biggest honor was being a guest speaker at Fort Hall Elementary School to talk about child abuse awareness.
Community involvement includes volunteering to help her aunt organize yearly activities and dinners in the Eagle Lodge (Gibson) District. She also helps with reservation clean up at the end of August and September.
Dystnee’s hobbies include doing beadwork, sewing, drawing, playing a little basketball, swimming and powwow dancing. “I like to travel to other places in different states,” she continued. She also likes to go deer hunting, salmon fishing and camping.
Her educational goal are to earn a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural studies but hasn’t yet decided.
Her dance style is jingle dress. Her mother Darcy Trejo made her dress. The bear paw on it represents a family name on her maternal side “Bearhat.” The colors represent: green-strength; yellow-courage; orange-knowledge; red-wisdom and gold-beauty.
The traditional dish Dystnee intends to cook is salmon in a step-by-step process with explanation. She will explain cleaning the fish, how to collect the eggs if female, how to gut and gut the fish, how to cook fish over the fire and how to remove the stakes. Her mother Darcy taught her to prepare that was passed on to her from the Nevada family side.
Dystnee’s traditional talent is storytelling of a variety of stories.
Teton School Board meeting on July 30.
By JEANNETTE BONER
Teton Valley News
DRIGGS — The scheduled working meeting with the Teton School Board on July 30 found community members angry and upset over the board’s July 16 decision to retire the Teton High School mascot.
School board chairperson Chris Issacson worked to keep the meeting on track where the board hoped to create some next-steps toward implementing the 4-1 decision, which retires the Redskin name and removes the name from the high school without the use of taxpayer funds.
Members of the community pushed back on the school board asking that the board reinstate the name because of the community was an “emotional wreck.” Community members who wore “Save the Redskins” t-shirts, questioned the board on their decision singling out board members, specifically school board member Mary Mello who made the motion in the July 16 meeting which earned the support of three other board members to retire the name.
“What facts do you guys have that this name has harmed our children,” questioned Lori Hillman at the meeting after Mello worked to explain how a school board has the authority to make a decision on a school mascot.
Mello explained that based on local and state guidelines, school board members had the authority to make decisions to protect the welfare of students.
“All of these things can be debunked,” continued Hillman. “Where are the facts? We want to know.”
Mello refused to engage in the impending argument.
Two hours into the meeting, Jade Walton submitted a petition to the board, which asked that the board re-instate the Redskin mascot. The four-page complaint ultimately asked that the school board reinstate the name with, "new standardized Native cultural education to recognize the objective and positive nature of Redskins," and "requests a temporary hold on the motion to retire the Redskin name so as to not allow the school board to move ahead with changes until this is resolved."
The board eventually instructed Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme to meet with school administration to devise a plan for the first day of school. At the end of the meeting the board set another working meeting for Monday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Driggs Elementary School where the board will hear a presentation on the administration’s plan for the first day of school in light of the board’s decision to retire the mascot.
During the meeting, the board sought to suss out a plan to move the decision forward taking suggestions from community members some of whom asked the board to plan a four-year Redskin retirement plan, others suggesting that elementary school children make the next choice for a mascot and still others who said the decision was wrong and should be reversed.
Issacson sought to draw out the idea of establishing committees to move the process forward. When suggestions to add members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe to community committees was made, people in the audience cried out “No.”
Members of the Save the Redskins present at the meeting criticized the board for taking into account the public testimony of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe who have actively participated in local events and meetings asking the school board to retire the Redskin name. In June, the tribe asked the state to consider doing away with statewide uses of Native Americans as mascots in all public schools.
The tribe was not represented at Tuesday’s meeting while community members commented that the feelings of tribal leadership did not reflect the opinion of the word Redskin as it related to the entire tribe. Community members said it was illegal for the board to consider the perspective of the tribe who they viewed as a political special interest group to which another community member countered that the tribe was a race of people.
School Board member Ben Kearsley was the lone deserting vote on the board at the July 16 meeting. At Tuesday’s meeting he pushed for the board to work much slower at implementing the change at the high school asking that the board focus on “fixing feelings” in the community and on the need to start the first the day of school where staff and students would be emotionally supported specifically because of the board’s mascot decision.
Kearsley also asked how the change would be made without using staff resources and time, which require money when the board committed to not using taxpayer funds.
Mello reviewed the board’s original motion, which stated that the board would not use taxpayer funds to remove the Redskin name from the high school.
School board member Jake Kunz cautioned that the board was getting into the weeds on details. He agreed that the process needed to slow down.
“I don’t know if we need to decide tonight if the 2019-2020 seniors are Redskins.,” said Kunz. “Bring us a plan for the first day of school.”
This story is re-printed with permission from the Teton Valley News.
Magic Smith, Stephan Kniffin and Jeremy Broncho tie together the base tipi poles with instructor Tony Shay during the presentation July 31.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Fort Hall Business Council member Lee Juan Tyler and Shoshone language teacher Tony Shay instructed local youth and adults how to set up a tipi July 31 near the softball field.
It was the third day of Culture Week Shoshone-Bannock Language and Culture program hosted. That afternoon, participants were able to taste sample of traditional foods including chokecherry pudding, buffalo roast, camas, milkweed pods and Bannock bread.
Youth watch the tipi demonstration.
Lee Juan said the tipi in Shoshone is “yungahni” or warm house. He said Tony showed a drawing on the way the four poles are used and measure it out. Concerning trees they have rings and at the bottom of the tipi pole one can see the rings – the rings show how old it is. “There’s significance in all of these things, we are connected to all this earth – we call it earth mother, some called it sacred grandmother ‘sogo bia’,” in Shoshone language.
Lee Juan said underneath the earth is geology “plate tectonics” (layers of the earth) as some of the older ones may know. He talked about Lava Hot Springs and the hot water, along with Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park - all a part of life. “We’re moving, going around the sun, all the planets of life, like our hearts – life is the same way.”
He also said the season’s keep going in a circle. “Long time ago Bannock warriors danced counter clockwise, they used to do that,” but now everyone dances clockwise.
Lee Juan said the tipi represents a woman and the poles represent the ribs – it brings life to us and that is why men should respect women, “never hit them.” He said the tipi is used for ceremonies and at home.
Instructors measure the tipi poles.
Tony had previously visited with summer youth workers explaining how to put the tipi up in a diagram noting that it’s important to line the edge of the tipi with the poles.
Jeremy Broncho, Stephan Kniffin and Magic Smith helped put the poles up and youth assisted in putting the stakes on the front of the tipi so it would hold together.
They were also shown how to move the poles to make the tipi smooth around the outside and stake it down.
Bobette Haskett instructs youth at the July 29 tule mat making class.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — The first day of Culture Week for Fort Hall Recreation was Monday, July 29. The kids spent the morning gathering tules in the Bottoms area. The learned how to properly pick them and what to look for. The tules collected were used for tule mats, which will be placed on teepee poles.
The tules were divided into sizes lengthwise, short, medium and long, and trimmed. The kids then learned how to tie them together with twine.
Language & Culture Program’s Bobette Haskett, was the instructor for the project.
“They’re doing a great job. They’re learning lots,” she said.
Youth ties together a tule mat.
She feels it’s important for the children to learn because it was something done in the past and it needs to be brought back and taught to them.
She hopes they will carry on the teaching in the future.
Sonya Wadsworth gives youth a Shinney game demonstration.
FORT HALL — The second day of Shoshone-Bannock Language and Culture Program Culture Week featured Indian games on the HRDC lawn.
Following are the results:
Shoe Toss – (13 and under) 1st place Sheldon Wetzel, 2nd place Efren Reynoso, 3rd place Tristan Lopez. (14 and older) 1st place Ramyn Mendez, 2nd place Tay’a Osborne, 3rd place Kiahna Wetzel.
Tug-of-War – (9 to 17 year old) 1st place Tay’a Osborne, James Singer, Anneka Kaiyou, Kamryn Mendez, Aaliyah Reynoso, Evan Alvarez, Braden Brunette, Catherine Peyope. 2nd place Sheldon Wetzel, Efren Reynoso, Tristan Lopez, Karson Farmer, Mateo, Reid, Waven. (18 years and up) Ontaria Ariwite, Kendra Benally, Spirit Wadsworth. 2nd place Shayeena Fasthorse, Juanita Farmer, Vanessa Arviso.
Shinney Game – (7 to 12 years old) 1st place Destinee Whiteman, Brelynn Anderson, Rian Pokibro, Ka Trina Yokoyama, Kiahna Wetzel. 2nd place Alayla Ellsworth, Kyshee Yokoyama, Lala Preacher, Ebonee Whiteman, Brunette.
Indian Football – (7 to 12 years old) 1st place Shane, Rayanna, JJ Reese, Mariano, Neraeh, Ariyana Pahvitse, Emmitte, Neena Buckskin, Kayden Carmond, Aylee Shane, Gator Boyd. 2nd place Mateo Pahvitse, Kyshee Yokoyama, Drayden Johnson, Every Eagle, Alayla Ellsworth, Drayez, Jataya McArther, Ebonee Whiteman, Miguelito. (13 years on up) 1st place Beiynn, JJ Reese, Kheeko, Desttnee, Ka’Trina, Maries. 2nd place Kiahna Wetzel, Tristan Lopez, Akirah Pahvitse, Efren Reynoso, Ebonee Whiteman, Miguelito Fasthorse.
Spear Throw – (7 to 12 years old) 1st place Jaylissa Brunette, 2nd place Drayez Washakie, 3rd place Mateo Pahvitse. (13 to 17) Tristan Lopez, Efren Reynoso, Catherine Peyope. (18 on up) 1st place Spirit Wadsworth, 2nd place Nolan Brown, 3rd place Jennie Whitehorse.