Jessa Rae Growing Thunder Crowned 2012 Miss Indian World

Albuquerque, New Mexico June 2012
Jessa Rae Growing Thunder, from Poplar, Montana and member of the Ft. Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, was crowned Miss Indian World at the 29th Annual Gathering of Nations.  Growing Thunder received the honor out of 28 Native American women representing their different tribes and traditions who competed in the areas of tribal knowledge, dancing ability, public speaking, and personality assessment.

“The Miss Indian World title is one of the most prestigious honors among Native American and indigenous people.  The winner provides a cultural link between tribes and helps bring together native and indigenous people throughout the world,” said Derek Mathews, founder of the Gathering of Nations.
Growing Thunder, who is 22-years-old, will travel to many native and indigenous communities around the world on behalf of the powwow.  She is originally from Poplar, MT and is currently attending college at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO. She is the daughter of Juanita Growing Thunder.  As Miss Indian World, she will represent all native and indigenous people as a cultural goodwill ambassador for one year.
Joanne Morales, 25-years-old from Puerto Rico and member of Taino tribe was named first runner-up. She is currently attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. Nikki Santos, 25-years-old from Marysville, WA and member of Coeur d'Alene tribe, was named second runner-up at the pageant. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2008.  In the case that Miss Indian World cannot fulfill her duties, the first runner-up will take her place.  If the first runner-up is unable to fulfill her duties after having taken over for Miss Indian World, the second runner-up will take her place.