Genevieve Iron Lightning was crowned the new 2017-2018 Miss He Sapa Win. Iron Lightning competed in the pageant with seven other young ladies from across the Great Sioux Nation.
Iron Lightning was crowned at the Black Hills Powwow in Rapid City on Saturday, October 7.
Thousands of people attended Saturday night’s powwow session, the most popular session of the three-day powwow event.
After grand entry the lights were dimmed and bright spotlights shone on the center of the powwow arena. There stood eight young ladies from the Cheyenne River Sioux, Yankton Sioux, and the Standing Rock Sioux tribes. All eight were dressed in beautiful powwow regalia and all wore bright smiles.
The powwow master of ceremonies, Ruben Little Head, began naming the consolation winners until the final three pageant competitors remained. Little Head announced Hannah Gatton as the second runner-up. Two contestants remained, including Iron Lightning.
Before the first runner-up was announced, Little Head explained that according to the pageant president, “This year’s contest was one of the most intense and closest in points that there ever was.”
Little Head announced that the first runner-up was Ryanne White.
The crowd burst in cheers and applause when Iron Lightnings’ name was called as the new Miss He Sapa Win.
Iron Lightning was given roses and a star quilt. The Miss He Sapa Win sash was draped across her shoulders, and a beautifully beaded crown was placed on her head. Iron Lightning was swarmed with congratulatory hugs and handshakes.
Iron Lightning broke into tears when she was met by her grandmother, Eagle Butte resident, Dale Charging Cloud. The two embraced and shed happy tears.
An honor song was performed as well-wishers joined in and danced around the powwow arena with Iron Lightning and her family.
After the celebration, the pageant president addressed the pageant contestants.
“You are all beautiful and you each represented your people and families well. Thank you all for all your efforts. And to our new Miss He Sapa Win, Genevieve, we are so excited to work with you this next year. Congratulations,” said the president.
Genevieve waved to the crowd and drums were hit in acknowledgement and approval.
“The feeling of winning Miss He Sapa Win was definitely exciting! When it came down to the last two, I heard the announcer say, ‘From the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe…’ I immediately thought that he was talking about me. I thought I was the runner-up. Then he continued to say ‘…and the Oglala Lakota tribe….’ My whole body went numb when I realized that I was not the runner-up. I thought to myself, I did it!” said Iron Lightning.
“I loved every minute of the pageant. I feel as if I’m making so many people proud already. I’m beyond grateful to have the opportunity to not only represent He Sapa Wacipi, but Cheyenne River as well. My message is to always take pride in where we come from as Lakota people. Always believe in yourself, and if at first you don’t succeed, always try again,” said Iron Lightning.