On Saturday, February 22nd, Miss Native American USA Ashley Nilianh Susan joined the 3rd Annual Oak Flat March in Arizona as part of the annual protest to save the land on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.
Susan, Apache, joined supporters and tribal leaders in Oak Flat to protest the federal government’s plan to sell off land to mining interests.
Miss Native American USA Ashley Nilianh Susan met the visiting Chairman of Standing Rock, North Dakota David Archambault, former San Carlos Chairman Windsler Nosie Sr., and even helped make fry bread. The event served traditional food, but due to weather, had to cancel several musical artists performances and speeches from Tribal Leaders and Susan.
But Susan did not let the weather dampen her spirits.
“It was a really powerful experience and it allowed me the opportunity to see the concerns of Indian Country. We need to support our brothers and sisters in protecting our homelands, our environment and our resources,” she said in a release.
“These are leaders that face the same problems that our chiefs before faced in the 1800’s. The health and well being of our people are so important, we must stand together to fight for our rights.”
Ashley Nilianh Susan is the 5th title holder of the Miss Native American USA. She is White Mountain Apache and Walker River Paiute Tribes and is from White River, Arizona. She is a motivational speaker and as the newest recipient of the crown, her platform is to spread the message of the importance of physical health among the Native American communities.
In 2016, the fifth annual Miss Native American USA event held at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona became a scholarship pageant with Native women vying for the title from all over the United States.