By Adrian Jawort
Ward, a Crow tribal member, wanted the March 24 “Runway to Congress” fashion show fundraiser event in Billings, Montana to not only highlight his initial foray into the political arena, but showcase how one could use Native heritage as a source of strength and inspiration. Ward, a Democrat, aims to replace Republican Denny Rehberg in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rehberg is running for the U.S. Senate.
“I wanted to show that if you come from the reservation, that doesn’t mean there are limits. If you have a dream and want to step forward, you can do it,” Ward said. “A lot of people think that because you’re from a reservation, you have to be stuck there, and have a mentality that limits their dreams. Having a Native American run for U.S. Congress should inspire other people to follow their dreams as well.”
Among those also headlining the event and following their dreams were America’s Top Model Contestant Mariah Watchman (Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservation), LA Fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail (Crow and Northern Cheyenne), and fashion photographer Anthony “Thosh” Collins (Pima and Osage). Jeremy Stands Over Bull (Crow) organized and emceed the event.
“Jeremy told me how Jason Ward was Native and running for Congress,” Watchman said. “And I had seen a couple of Bethany Yellowtail’s dresses on Facebook, and I loved them. So as soon as I heard Bethany was in on it, and it was going to be a fashion show and we were supporting so many different things, I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
Below: "America's Next Top Model contestant Mariah Watchman joined designer Bethany Yellowtail and photographer Thosh Collins at an event for Democratic hopeful Jason Ward in Billings, Montana."