Miss Navajo


Miss Navajo reveals how as winners of Miss Navajo Nation, women are challenged to take on the great responsibility of becoming community leaders who are fluent in the Navajo language and knowledgeable about their culture and history. Conceived as a "celebration of womanhood" by filmmaker Billy Luther—whose mother, Sarah Johnson Luther, was Miss Navajo Nation 1966—the documentary is a different take on what it means to be beautiful.

For the past 50 years, Miss Navajo Nation has celebrated women and their traditional values, language and inner beauty. The pageant is held over a five day period at the annual Navajo Nation Fair and the contestants are required to showcase their traditional and cultural skills. Pageant events include demonstrating skills that are crucial to Navajo daily life, including sheep butchering, fry bread making, and rug weaving.

No ordinary beauty pageant, the Miss Navajo pageant is all about determining who can rise to the challenge of becoming a community leader, by demonstrating fluency in the Navajo language and in-depth knowledge of their unique culture and history.
Miss Navajo is a celebration of women and tradition in Dine (Navajo) culture explored through one young woman’s quest for the Miss Navajo Nation crown.


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]