Biracial Miss Navajo Nation surprises some on Indian reservation in Arizona – Radmilla Cody crowned Miss Navajo Nation 1997-98

Biracial Miss Navajo Nation surprises some on Indian reservation in Arizona – Radmilla Cody crowned Miss Navajo Nation 1997-98 – Brief Article

Twenty-three-year-old Radmilla “Millie” Cody, whose mother is Navajo Indian and whose father is Black, has caused a stir on the nation’s largest and most traditional reservation since she was crowned Miss Navajo Nation 1997-98.

But the talented and attractive Arizonan told The Sunday Journal in Albuquerque, NM, “I went into this competition with a goal, a goal that not only was I going to open eyes, but I was going to open doors.”

She added, “You run for Miss Navajo Nation, it’s not just a hand wave and a smile.”

Cody, who is from Grand Falls-Leupp, wasn’t embraced by all after she became the first biracial Miss Navajo last September. Though judges of the annual contest found Cody to be the best example of Navajo life and culture, some on the reservation didn’t feel the same way.

Cody’s Black features have prompted controversy. One letter in particular that was published in the Navajo Nation’s newspaper, the Navajo Times, from a member of the tribe lashed out at the judges’ choice of Cody as Miss Navajo.

“Miss Cody’s appearance and physical characteristics are clearly black, and are thus representative of another race of people,” the letter said.

It was also written in the letter that tribal members of mixed race are a threat to the future of the tribe. The letter continued, “Miss Cody is a very pretty black lady and this is the aspect of her life she needs to focus on, and to be proud of.”

Cody, who went up against six other women in competitions of fry bread making and sheep butchering, said she didn’t expect her reign to be ordinary.

Cody, who has been active as a model on the West Coast, told The Daily Times in Farmington, NM, “I really wanted to run for Miss Navajo to make a statement. And that statement is that biracial people such as I really want to be taken seriously.”

COPYRIGHT 1998 Johnson Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group