OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – Miss Muscogee Nation Claudia McHenry and Jr. Miss Muscogee Nation Gabby Noriega held a Princess Picnic for potential Mvskoke Princesses of the Nation.
The picnic included crafts, food, games and Mvskoke Royalty introductions as well as sharing experiences. Girls ages first through eighth grade were invited to the event.
“The purpose of the event is to try to get girls ready for the leadership role that happens when they take on Miss and Jr. Miss,” McHenry said. “Just kind of give them a little inside to what happens if they ever choose that path.”
The royalty encourages young girls to run for the Jr. Miss or Miss Muscogee Nation and to be leaders in their communities.
McHenry tried out for the title three times before gaining the crown. As a 24-year-old college graduate of University of Central Oklahoma, McHenry has taken the year to be a full-time princess.
“I’m so thankful to be able to actually win this title and be able to represent even with this time during COVID,” she said.
After attempts at both titles over the years, to finally winning the crown, McHenry said it was her traditional story telling that gave her the advantage.
Jr. Miss Muscogee Nation Gabby Noriega will be entering her sophomore year at the Eufaula Dormitory. This would be her first try at the title with success.
“I believe it was my confidence that made me stand out, you have to have confidence when you speak,” Noriega said.
McHenry said since coming into the title, she has reflected on her position and decided to take on the big sister role to help lead Jr. Miss.
Since their induction in early June, the pair has attended the At-Large Gathering in Dallas, Muscogee Nation Night Drillers Game, read to children at schools, held a towel drive for the Eufaula Dormitory.
When trying out for the princess titles, the contestants attend a “royalty retreat,” where they learn aspects of Mvskoke culture, language, pageant workshops and other skill building workshops in preparation for the pageant.
According to McHenry in her past experience, it was much different trying out.
“Mvskoke Royalty has improved so much and I can’t imagine what it will be like for the younger generations,” she said.
For more information regarding the Mvskoke Royalty, call: 918-549-2557.