W E S H A L L R E M A I N : U TA H I N D I A N C U R R I C U L U M G U I D E
The Miss Navajo Pageant, which began in 1952, demonstrates the ingenuity of the Navajo people.
The Navajo Nation has adapted the Euro-American idea of a “pageant” into a competition that gives
Navajo young women an opportunity to demonstrate traditional and contemporary skills and their
understanding of Navajo language, culture, history, government, and contemporary issues. It is one
important way the Navajo people are preserving their culture and transmitting it to new generations.
The student will be able to understand how the skills necessary to win the Miss Navajo competition
reflect the ingenuity and culture of the Navajo people.
Rosita Isaac’s Miss Navajo Experience
Time Frame - versatile
Two thirty-minute periods
One block period with homework
Three standard class periods
At a Glance: The Miss Navajo Pageant and Navajo Culture
We Shall Remain: The Navajo (chapter 3, 14:17–chapter 4, 22:07; chapter 5, 25:00)
How the Miss Navajo Competition Reflects the Ingenuity of
the Navajo Tribe and Its Young Women
Additional materials neded
“Crowning Miss Navajo,” New York Times Magazine, October 8, 2006, available online at
Ask the students to think about what a pageant is. Have them write a paragraph or two about the
qualities it might take to win a pageant and what winning a pageant represents.
Using the information provided in the teacher background, and/or if possible, video from the
Miss Navajo documentary, introduce the students to the Miss Navajo pageant. Emphasize that the
competition is based on knowledge and skills important in Navajo culture.
Give the students a copy of the “Crowning Miss Navajo” article and the Rosita Isaac Oral History. Using
these materials, have the students write an essay, or create an oral presentation, about what positive
contributions such a pageant might have for both the young women participating in it and for the
Navajo people as a whole.