Miss, Jr. Miss are artistic, multi-talented
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The new Miss Muscogee (Creek) Nation Nina Fox and Jr. Miss MCN Louisa Harjo share a couple of things in common besides their height.
They have a passion for art and its connection with their culture.
Fox’s art is expressed through her beadwork and making traditional Mvskoke clothes.
She said she first started sewing when she was about 9 years old and started to make skirts for her and her sisters around 11 years old.
Her traditional Mvskoke dressmaking did not start until late 2017.
“In November I started learning,” Fox said. “Janice Tiger, she was the one who taught me.”
She also gave credit to Ramona Mason for passing on the knowledge of Mvskoke clothing to her.
“She’s taught me a lot of what I know,” she said.
Fox said she has a preference in her designs. She prefers the one-piece dress with the traditional small floral patterns and understands the meaning behind the ribbons.
“I try to stick with the traditional meaning of the dresses,” she said.
Harjo said she uses art almost as a form of meditation.
“I know whenever I sew or paint it’s soothing for me,” she said.
Harjo said she worked with Dana Tiger, who taught her how to work with different colors in her artwork. She and Tiger developed her platform of ‘art is medicine,’ hoping to reach Native youth around her age and about the healing potential of art.
She said she sees youth in her community who are great artists, but struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“They draw dark things with no color,” Harjo said.
She said she has also been sewing for about two to three years, learning from the elders within her community. She wanted to combine the skill she developed with her passion for artwork, creating a display through the dress she wore during the pageant.
The dress had a color theme consisting of the four medicine wheel colors, black, red, yellow and white. She also incorporated Wilbur Chebon Gouge’s “A struggle to survive” speech into the design.
“On the yoke, it has the quote, ‘yes, I am a Mvskoke woman. I know who I am, I know where I’ve been,’” Harjo said.
The 2018-2019 MCN royalty expressed their excitement for the upcoming year and the chance to present their culture through their appearances.