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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Miss Native American UA is proud of her tribal roots, determined to be a leader

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PHOTO courtesy of Roxanne Hunter

Roxanne Hunter, an anthropology junior, was crowned Miss Native American UA.

When Roxanne Hunter won Miss Native American UA, it marked a time for her to remember her father, who died about a year ago.

Hunter, an anthropology junior, made sure to recognize him in her acceptance speech because of the pride he instilled in her for their culture.

“I ran in honor of him,” Hunter said. “I just kept him in my mind the entire time I was running. I thought of him as I won and was being crowned. Both of my parents are Native [American], but my father was someone who was very prideful about being Native American.”

Part of Hunter’s journey into the competition involved going back to her roots, the Quechan and Kwatsan tribes. Although Hunter grew up in Phoenix, her father lived on the reservation as a teenager and decided to raise his family outside of it in order to provide better educational opportunities. As a result of her upbringing, Hunter describes herself as an “urban Indian,” a term used to describe Natives who grow up in the city rather than on the reservation.

Hunter said growing up in the city provided a unique experience. Although she lived in Phoenix, her family made regular visits to the reservation for ceremonies and powwows.

“I don’t think that takes anything away from being a true Native … I still know my culture and who I am, so that doesn’t make me less than what I am,” Hunter said. “I grew up with strong ties to my family.”

In preparation for the pageant, Hunter spent weeks immersing herself in the native language and traditional dances. Hunter received support from her family, as well as from Carol Seanez, a friend and Miss Native American UA 2012. Seanez met Hunter during her freshman year and the two became coworkers in the resident assistant program.

Seanez said she saw Hunter as an ideal candidate to carry the title, especially since seeing her stand strong after her father’s death.

“I had the confidence that she would win,” Seanez said. “Just seeing her go through that and continue to pursue her goals showed that she is a great leader … I have no doubt in my mind that
she will move on to do great things.”

As part of her platform, Hunter said she wanted to focus on mentorship. She currently serves as a resident assistant at Posada San Pedro Residence Hall and is involved in the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority.

Jeannette Moreno, a sociology senior and fellow sorority member, said Hunter’s contributions to the sorority reflect her leadership skills.

“She’s unbelievably motivated,” Moreno said. “Her dedication pulls everyone together and she’s always willing to do what’s needed. We’re very proud of her accomplishments and grateful to have her in our sorority.”

Looking back on her past, Hunter said she will use her new position as an opportunity to grow.

“Three weeks before the deadline was my father’s one year anniversary, so it was kind of like, ‘I’m
not ready to do it’,” Hunter said. “But after thinking about it for awhile, I thought, you know, ‘I can do it and I’m ready to move on and get involved in the community.’”

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