Administrators at Haskell Indian Junior College warned Sheri Bird on Tuesday that she better get used to speaking in public.
Bird will represent the school as Miss Haskell during the 1992-93 academic year. Hannes Combest, executive education assistant for the Bureau of Indian Affairs school, teased Bird that she's in for a long year of public performances.
However, that's nothing new for Bird. She and her family travel the country sharing traditional Native American songs and dances. The Bird family performed recently at Haskell as part of the school's yearlong series of events aimed at increasing awareness of Native American cultures and their contributions to the United States.
Bird, a third-semester student from Brookings, S.D., said she definitely was surprised that she'd been named Miss Haskell.
"MORE LIKE in shock," she said. "It still has to sink in a little."
Bird, Three Affiliated Tribes and Sioux, inherits the crown from Lisa Chavez.
She will represent Haskell at powwows and other community gatherings. She expects she'll also be asked to speak to local groups. And Bird will represent the school at pageants.
Bird said she toyed with the idea of being a candidate for Miss Haskell last year but decided against it.
"But this year so many people encouraged me" to run for Miss Haskell that she couldn't say no, she said.
Other candidates were Jolene New Holy, an Oglala Sioux, and Bernice Morning Gun, a Crow.
For her role as Miss Haskell, Bird said, "I just want to represent (Haskell) in a positive way," adding that she also would like to try to recruit more students and make people in the community more aware of the college.
BIRD SAID she thinks there still are a lot of people who don't even know Haskell exists in Lawrence. And she said sometimes it feels like the school is in its own world on the outskirts of town.
Bird plans on a career in elementary education and said she will attend South Dakota State University after she graduates from Haskell. Bird and her family leave May 8 to perform in Jamaica.