Alessa Poe was crowned Miss Cama-i 2014 at the annual Cama-i Dance Festival in Bethel earlier this month.
Miss Cama-i is selected by a panel of judges, and must be knowledgeable about the tribes and traditions of the Yukon Kuskokwim region. At the end of the competition, the contestant with the highest accumulated points is crowned to a reign of one year. This year, the winner was Alessa Poe of Bethel. She ran on a platform of encouraging higher education while continually instilling traditional values.
“And I really wanted to emphasize continually because I feel like in today’s world there’s a disconnect between our elders and our traditional values and our younger generation of our youth and I feel like we can learn a lot from them, even in today’s modern world.”
The 23-year-old grew up in Bethel and is working towards a construction management degree at University of Alaska Anchorage. Contestants turned in an essay, did personal interviews with judges, participated in a photo shoot, helped serve at an elders dinner at Cama-i Dance Festival and introduced themselves on stage to the crowd. Poe says she was surprised when she won.
“I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so big. Just the role overall a being able to make an impact for our people and for our region. And to be an example for the younger generations, especially our nieces and nephews; I wanted to show them that you can accomplish anything through hard work.”
Poe was also named Miss Congeniality. As Miss Cama-i, Poe will be tasked with being a Cultural Ambassador. Her mission is to build leadership and community involvement in Alaska Native culture and traditions among Alaska Native Youth in the YK Delta. Poe will compete in the Miss World Eskimo-Indian Olympics Pageant in Fairbanks July, 16th – 19th.