September 09, 2010

Miss Navajo's sheep butchering

'My hands were shaking'

Huge crowd turns out for Miss Navajo sheep butchering contest

By Noel Lyn Smith
Sheep butchering became a required category in the pageant in 1995, when the preservation of traditional culture gained emphasis.

Sheep butchering is unique to the competition and draws more spectators than any event aside from the coronation of the new Miss Navajo.

This year's audience did not disappoint. Every available seat was taken and some people had to sit on the ground or squeeze into any available space.

The nine hopefuls were divided into groups of three to butcher a sheep. They drew numbers to determine which portion of the sheep would be their responsibility.

Curley, Goodluck and Ambra Sue Nez were the first team to carry in a sheep from the trailer parked next to the pavilion.

With a steady hand, Goodluck cut into the sheep's neck as the audience broke into cheers and applause.
Comment:  I gather the Navajo haven't converted to vegetarianism yet.

For more on the subject, see Miss Navajo Tackles Taboos and Miss Navajo Takes the Lead.

Below:  "Miss Navajo contestants Winifred Bessie Jumbo, right, of Two Grey Hills, N.M., and Tanya Lister, top, of Shiprock, participate in the pageant's butchering competition at Hazel Yazza Pavilion on Monday." (Leigh T. Jimmie/Navajo Times)

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