RIO RANCHO, N.M. — There are a lot of students with hidden talents and ideas who never reach out to people who can make their dreams a reality. A lot of groups, clubs, pageants, and sports are never acknowledged because no one really knows about them. Students who find those hidden associations glow in ways that outshine their peers, and one Cleveland High student does just that by earning the “Miss Indian RRPS” title.
To be Miss Indian RRPS, participants need to take on multiple tasks and excel educationally. A V. Sue Cleveland High School junior, Makila Furcap (of the Navajo tribe), won the title in November of 2019. She is an exceptional student that wants to spread a message to all of her peers — Native American or not.
Audianna Gutierrez, a journalism student for Ms. Mascarenas, sat down with her on Feb. 25 to ask her some questions about her accomplishment and the message she wants to share.
Gutierrez: What did you have to do to earn your title of “Miss Indian RRPS”?
Furcap: Well, multiple things had to be done. I had to get three recommendation letters from teachers, maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher, know some of the language of my tribe, have a special talent in which I played the viola, filled out an application of course, and I had to show proof of tribal affiliation.
Gutierrez: How did you feel when you were nominated Miss Indian RRPS?
Furcap: I felt good because I saw things that needed improvement and instead of complaining about it I decided to earn a status that could help me make those improvements.
Gutierrez: What does it mean to be Miss Indian RRPS?
Furcap: I am able to be a voice for others and I can represent all of my fellow Native Americans that surround me.
Gutierrez: How does the “Miss Indian RRPS” title help you reach any of your goals?
Furcap: Well, to be honest, I am a very shy person. I am really quiet, so with this title, I have to attend events and speak in front of groups so it helps me with my public speaking skills and with this title, my grades need to stay up so it helps me stay on top of my school work.
Gutierrez: How does the title affect how your family and friends think about you?
Furcap: My family has been really supportive of everything I have been doing. They see me as hard working and always busy. They are very proud. My friends are also very supportive, and it’s really cool because they seem open to learning about Navajo culture even if they’re not Native.
Gutierrez: What is it like to be a Navajo in Rio Rancho?
Furcap: It gets hard sometimes because there are not a lot of Navajo people that I know of. There is also a language barrier because even when I know of a Navajo, they are not knowledgeable of the language.
Gutierrez: What do you have to do to maintain this award?
Furcap: I have to attend multiple events and show up at the Rio Rancho Pow Wow.
Gutierrez: To finalize this interview, what message do you want to send to your peers?
Furcap: I just want everyone to understand that we are all from the same background. We are all Native Americans in a way and if not, you’re related to one! I want everyone to come together as one and when that is done, we can do anything we set our minds to.