Samantha Simmons-Alonso has had a dream of being crowned Miss Indian North Carolina since she was 5 years old. That dream became a reality this past spring when the hand-beaded signature crown was placed on her head.
Simmons-Alonso is one of only two Coharie tribe members to ever earn the title, something the young adult is very proud to share. As Miss Indian NC, Simmons-Alonso will represent more than 122,000 Native Americans who are part of the eight American Indian tribes and four Indian Urban organizations of North Carolina.
Under her platform, “Walking in Two Worlds While Preserving American Indian Culture,” the young native is focusing on the importance of not forgetting the past because of the present.
“I want people to know that they can be anything they want to be and still be in touch with their culture,” Simmons-Alonso shared. “For someone to walk in two worlds can mean different things. I feel it’s important for our Native American youth to understand they can be proud of who they are and still go after their dreams.”
Traveling across the state and the country, the young member of royalty speaks to Native American youth about being proud of the Indian culture.
“I try to get out there and let them know that we are still here,” Simmons-Alonso said.
Simmons-Alonso recently joined Dennis Banks, the founder of the American Indian Movement, in Washington, D.C. and took the opportunity to share about Native American culture being present in today’s world.
“During my visit, I met people who have asked me to travel to their communities and share my platform with the youth of their tribe,” Simmons-Alonso said.
As part of her duties as Miss Indian NC, Simmons-Alonso will make appearances at pageants, Pow Wows and conferences across North Carolina and the United States and share with others the importance of not forgetting the Native American culture.
In June, Simmons-Alonso attended the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization conference on the campus of N.C. State University and spoke with the native youth about being involved with their tribes and sharing the culture with those who are younger than them and learning about the ancestor’s ways.
Being crowned Miss Indian NC isn’t the only title Simmons-Alonso has held. She has also been crowned as Little Miss Coharie, Jr. Miss Coharie, Teen Miss Coharie and Miss Coharie.
During competition for the title of Miss Indian NC, Simmons-Alonso said she had to have a traditional talent and was judged on her regalia, platform and interview. For her talent, Simmons-Alonso wrote a traditional Native American song about walking in two worlds and played the hand drum as she sang.
“When they announced me as the winner, all I could do was thank God that my dreams came true,” Simmons-Alonso expressed. “Winning this title has been a dream of mine since I was five years old and I attended my first pageant.”
Simmons-Alonso says she plans to continue working with the Native American youth and helping them develop an understanding of the culture.
“If we don’t continue to share about our culture, it will be lost,” Simmons-Alonso said.
A native of Sampson County, Simmons-Alonso is the 23-year-old daughter of Pablo and Katherine Simmons-Alonso. In 2011, she graduated from Clinton High School and went on to further her education at Sampson Community College, graduating with an associate’s degree in early childhood education. She is now working with Head Start of Sampson County.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.