Sage Honga (1992- ), an American student and model, won the title of First Attendant in the 2012 Miss Native American USA pageant. In 2014 she was a waitress at the W Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2016 she appeared in the YouTube video “100 Years of Beauty – Episode 26: Diné / Navajo Nation”.
She is Hualapai, Hopi and Diné. The Dine (dih-NAH) are better known by their Spanish name of “Navajo”. They are the largest First Nation left in the US.
The video: The video shows how Dine beauty has changed over the past hundred years, from the 1910s to the 2010s. It is part of a series put out by WatchCut Video showing how female beauty has changed through time and across the world. In the past they have done the US (White, Black, Puerto Rican and Hawaiian), Brazil, France, Russia, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, China, Philippines, and so on.
Beauty: Honga and her mother say that Dine beauty is less about hair and make-up and more about jewellery and inner beauty. Less is more.
Dine jewellery is based mainly on turquoise, which they value more than diamonds or gold.
Inner beauty is part of how they see themselves as Dine:
“There’s a saying in Navajo, we’re always taught to walk in beauty. And it’s about the way we think, the way we talk, our behaviour that should be all in a positive way. ‘Beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty above me and beauty beneath me.'”
“My mother has always spoken our language [Western Navajo] so proudly…whenever she speaks to me in Navajo it is so comforting to me and makes me feel at home, and it makes me feel closer to her, my grandmothers and the women in my family. It just reminds me of who I am.”
#NoDAPL: She finds the #NoDAPL protests (against the pipeline going through the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota) so powerful, even on television. Her heart and spirit call her to go there, but she has to complete her studies. The pipeline threatens the reservation’s water. Honga:
“All of this destruction happening to our land, Mother Earth isn’t going to give back to us – it is going to poison her. That water, that every living thing needs to survive, will be gone. “
Her grandmother, who raised sheep, taught her to be ecosystemic: that if we take care of the land and the animals, they will take care of us.
Cultural appropriation: She says Columbus Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving in October and November are the hardest holidays to get through: people who have no understanding or respect for Natives dress up like them. But it is not like them:
“Anything Native Americans wear, there is a process. It’s done with prayer, it’s done with song.”
While Native women and girls are being killed, raped or gone missing, Urban Outfitters sells “Navajo-designed” women’s underwear, which
“is against everything we stand for and it does not represent us in any way, shape, or form.”
– Abagond, 2016.
- Welcome to Native American Heritage Month 2016
- cultural appropriation
- “White is right”
- racist US holidays
- John Trudell