Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswit…

(Irina Zhorov, Wyoming Public Radio)

This is a fascinating and well-crafted look back at the Miss Indian America pageant — it covers both the highly problematic elements and the progressive notes of the project. The pageant ran about 30 years, ending in the mid-80s, and while it was an attempt to combat racism against native peoples, it also relied on stereotypes — buckskin and feathers as attire, regardless of the contestant's tribal affiliation, and for a long time many of the judges were white. Still, the story catches up with a few women who speak well of the experience of winning, noting the "cultural ambassador" role that the title was supposed to embody.