By Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– Mvskoke Royalty Coordinator Shelby Botone and the Public Relations Department Multimedia Specialist Liz Gray hosted an open discussion forum over a new program for Mvskoke Ambassadors program.
A virtual open discussion was held on Friday, Aug. 14 about changes in the pageant and competition program and new Mvskoke Ambassadors program. Botone and Gray were joined by former princesses and other citizens.
Before the discussion the topic was placed on the Health, Education and Welfare Committee session.
In a HEW committee session NCA 20-055 stated, ‘A law of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation creating new law in MCNCA Title 16, Chapter 8, Subchapter 2 entitled “Young Mvskoke Ambassador Program and Competition” and repealing MCNCA Title 37, subchapter 2-119 entitled, “Mvskoke (Creek) Nation Pageant and Royalty.” In this committee session Botone and Gray both made the comment to postpone indefinitely for more open discussion.
During the open discussion, Botone went into explanation of what some of the changes were for the program. One of the changes for the program is to open an ambassador role to a young man.
“We just wanted an opportunity to promote our young men and for them to be role models for the community as well,” Botone said. “This was our main purpose of the change.”
Since the pageant had to be canceled this year, they took the opportunity of making changes and rejuvenate the program. Botone wants to gear towards a leadership competition rather than using the term “pageant.” They also want to stick to the term ambassador instead of “royalty” and “princess.”
“The legislation doesn’t state it but we are going to keep Miss Muscogee (Creek) Nation,” Botone said. “That position will stay relatively the same. There is no changes we wanted to do but add requirements during the reign.”
The scholarship will still be awarded to the ambassadors selected. They will select however many ambassadors to represent with what the budget allows.
“We were just going to focus on the two ambassadors this year, which we’ve had just two in the past years,” Botone said. “But its something we can discuss.”
Botone wants to have more ambassadors in the future, because there was discussion about At-large ambassadors. There is also plans to have an At-large representative to help out with those future ambassadors.
Gray said, “Especially with At-large, instead of adding so many positions we can expand the requirements for each position. I know the elimination of Jr. Miss was disussed, we were thinking of expanding the age range for Miss from 16 to 24. It is a scholsrship program so if they are concurrent enrolled into college, trade or vocational school they can do that.”
With the legislation there was discussions made about repealing the program, but it was originally amended. Botone said they were advised so much terms would have to be changed, and that is why they began with repealing.
“We’re all for growing the program in future years that’s why we kept the legislation open just for flexibility purposes,” Botone said.
The ambassadors roles would be the same as what the royalty does now; travel to promote the nation in government or cultursl level, summer internship (possibly), spend some time in Washington D.C. shadowing ambassador Jonodev Chaudhuri.
“Those were some of the discussions but we do want to focus on them learning how our government works as far as writing legislation shadowing council and varius departments in our Nation,” Botone stated.
“We want them to promote their platform,” Gray added.
In this discussion one participant stated this is what the youth council does. Gray talked about giving youth as many opportunities as possible. She believes the youth council could be a stepping stone for the ambassador program.
“I would love to have a partnership with the youth council,” Gray stated.
A male member of the youth council was actually on the discussion forum and stated, he was appreciative of them extending the ambassador program to males but did not support it. He believes having a male ambassador would take away the Mvskoke women.
“I feel like the discussion went really well,” Botone said. “I’m glad we’re having this. discussion just because it’s bringing up a lot of input from other citizens.”
This was the first discussion meeting out of more for the new ambassador program, Botone wants it to be ongoing for some time.
For more information and ideas reach out on social media @MvskokeRoyalty, or contact Royalty Coordinator Shelby Botone at firstname.lastname@example.org