Friday marked a very special moment in the 24-years of Shelby Mata’s life.
In a ceremony at the Comanche Nation Tribal Complex Code Talker Room, Mata was crowned Miss Native American USA 2021-2022. Tribal Chairman Mark Woomavovah presented the crown and sash on behalf of the pageant.
“There are no words to describe how honored and blessed I am,” she said. “I am excited for this journey as the 2021-22 Miss Native American USA.”
Mata was honored by her tribe at the event. Bill Volker, of SIA, presented her with an adult Golden Eagle feather and she was presented with a Pendleton blanket from Tribal Administrator Julia Mantzke. Mia Tahdooahnippah, of the Comanche Nation Gaming/Entertainment also presented her a gift. Princesses from several tribes and organizations were in attendance to support Mata on her special day.
Originally from Walters, Mata is the daughter of are Antonio and Phillis Mata. Her grandparents are Mitchell Gwoompi and Lou Bell Ototivo, and great-grandparents are Vilas Ototivo and Angeline “Gommock” Peahcoose Ototivo.
The title follows her first near-crowning at Miss Native American USA. In 2019, Mata was first runner-up to Lexie James. Her reign was extended last year due to the pandemic.
In her role as the ninth Miss Native American USA, Mata intends to promote her platform: “Cultural Knowledge and Awareness.”
“I am honored and very excited for this upcoming year to represent the Miss Native American USA title,” she said. “I look forward to the new friendships, experiences, and opportunity to share my platform.
Since childhood, Mata has held five tribal royalty titles within her community including Miss Indian Oklahoma 2017-18. She said she takes pride in representing her tradition and culture by dancing southern cloth and buckskin style. She has had the honor of holding head woman dancer for several engagements and was featured on the cover of OKLAHOMA magazine for its August 2018 edition.
Mata served as Comanche Nation Princess for a historic moment in recognition of the Comanche Code Talkers of World War II.
In 2014, she was the youngest tribal member to travel to Normandy France to commemorate the Code Talkers for their involved in D-Day on its 70th anniversary. She was also made an honorary citizen of Tilly-Sur-Suelles, Normandy, France.
Later that year she accompanied her tribe to the U.S. Capitol to receive the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the Comanche Code Talkers. She also performed at the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institution during that trip.
“Thank you to the Miss Native American USA Pageant for encouraging young women across our great nation to be the best they can be and for being the role models we all look up to,” she said. “Most importantly, I am thankful the Creator has blessed me with this opportunity and everything he has done for me. Without Him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”