Lisa Kamahamak Lynch crowned Miss ANB
For the first time in eight years there is a Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood.
Lisa Kamahamak Lynch was selected June 21 and now will represent the Bering Strait region at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in in Fairbanks later in July. Nineteen-year old Lisa is a student at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. Her parents are Cheryl and Tim Lynch of Anchorage.
The Miss WEIO Cultural Pageant judges young women on their knowledge of their culture and current Native issues as well as on poise, confidence, overall presentation and personality. Native regalia is a part of the competition. In 2010 Marjorie Tahbone of Nome was Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood, Miss WEIO and also Miss Indian World. Miss WEIO of 1993, Tara Sweeney, was just confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.
“It looks like a lot of fun. It’s kind of what I like to do,” said Lynch when asked why she decided to enter. “I’m a showy kind of person, so I wanted to do it.” There is also a $3,000 scholarship, which is paid to the educational institution the winner attends. “With my interests and my location for school it’s hard for me to find scholarships that I qualify for. It turns out nobody wants to fund a French-speaking Eskimo studying classical studies in Rome. This was just an open call for anyone so I was thinking ‘Hey maybe I could do it, maybe I could win.’”
The regalia part was easy because most of what she wore was already at home. “For example, the mukluks I wore during the contest were actually given to me by my aaka.” Lisa was the only one with feet small enough to wear them. “My mom makes every kuspuk I wear for all occasions. The parka was my mother’s and now it’s mine. The gloves came in a matching set with the ruff around my parka.”
She studies in Rome because she has a passion for Egyptology. Since an early age she’s been interested in ancient Egypt. “When she was in third grade she was bringing home books on Egyptology,” said her dad. “I watched Indiana Jones in fourth grade and I said ‘I definitely want to be him but only for Egypt,’” said Lisa.
“I’m heading eventually to a PhD in Egyptology and a PhD in linguistic anthropology,” she said. “I’m a big fan of Egypt but waves, trends come and go. Egypt has faded out. I’m like forty to fifty years late for the Egypt trend. There are not a lot of schools that offer it. It’s mostly masters degrees so I have to get a degree or degrees as a bachelor to qualify for a masters so I have the background skill set, so I can’t directly study Egypt I’m a double major for classical studies which means I study the ancient Mediterranean with emphasis on Greco-Roman history and then I’m also majoring in art history, which technically counts as archeology. So then I can apply for a masters program with a background in Mediterranean history and archeology.”
“I’d prefer to work in Egypt because it’s been my dream since I was seven,” she said. “My goal would be to be the head of a dig site and be the one who writes up the reports on what you find at a dig site and publishes them.”
The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, WEIO, will take place in Fairbanks July 18 to 21.
This a corrected version from the print edition.