PUBLISHED: 11:19 AM on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Young women participate in sixth annual Miss Tlingit & Haida Leadership Pageant

Photo courtesy of CCTHITA/ Chellie Pennoyer
  Jeanette Commodore, Martha Mallott and Markel Wallace took part in the sixth annual Miss Tlingit and Haida Youth Leadership Pageant.
The Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announces the 2007 Miss Tlingit & Haida Youth Leadership Pageant winners-Markel Wallace, Miss Tlingit & Haida; Martha Mallott 1st Runner Up; and Jeanette Commodore, 2nd Runner Up. The crown was passed to Wallace from 2006 Miss Tlingit & Haida Marrisa Corpuz, who is a freshman at the University of Alaska Southeast - Juneau.

The leadership pageant activities were held April 19-21, in Wrangell during Central Council's 72nd Annual General Assembly.

The event has been tailored to provide opportunities to explore the complex weaving of Alaska Native Tribes, Corporations and villages as well as historical events that have helped shape our Tribe. Participants took part in a variety of activities during the event, including workshops on the history of tribal government and Central Council, how to properly conduct themselves in public, subsistence, and the road to leadership.

The selection of Miss & Tlingit Haida was based on the participant's knowledge of tribal government and history, her eloquence, and her concern for the well-being of Alaska Natives. Each contestant submitted an essay on a Native issue of concern.

This year's contestants included:

Markel Wallace, 18, is a senior at Ketchikan High School. She is Tlingit, Haida and Navajo and her Native name is Htlamjuu, which means "Fluffy One." Her issue of concern is the loss of Elders and their importance in Native Communities. As the 2007 Miss Tlingit & Haida she will act as a spokesperson encouraging other young ladies to enter the Miss Tlingit & Haida Youth Leadership Pageant for the opportunity to gain leadership skills and to meet other young ladies from Tlingit and Haida Country. Wallace looks forward to setting an example for youth and honoring her grandparents. She is the granddaughter of William and Dorothy Wallace and the daughter of Lee and Winona Wallace of Saxman.

Martha Mallott, 18, is a senior at Yakutat High School. She is Tlingit and of the Raven moiety, her Native name is Chaash'tlaa. Her issue of concern is the Health Care System in Native communities. She would like to be a role model to her fellow Natives and wants to set an example for the younger generations and send the message that it is "ok" to be Native. Mallott is the daughter of Byron J. Mallott and Catherine Wassillie and the granddaughter of Byron Mallott and Evelyn Dierick.

Jeanette Commodore, 22, is a student at South Seattle Community College. She is Tlingit and her Native name is Aadaanek. She is Wooskitaan Yadi, Eagle Shark. Her issue of concern is the low rate of Native Americans attending college. She participated in the leadership pageant to gain leadership skills and grace. She wants to represent her family and the Tlingit tribe's strong inspiring women. Her family originates from Angoon. She is the granddaughter of Phyllis Benson (maiden name Davis), and Ernest "Pete" Commodore. Her grandfather was George Davis. She is the daughter of Valerie Jones and Albert Ward.

President Edward K. Thomas created this pageant in 2002 to "cultivate and honor the leadership abilities and culture knowledge of youth in the Tlingit and Haida community, and to recognize that our youth are important."