2022-2023 Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Queen
Cajaun Clevelend (Diné)
Intertribal Ceremonial Office
“Ya’at’eeh! My name is Cajaun Cleveland. I am from the Dine tribe, and my clans are The Towering House Clan, born for the Bitter Water People, my maternal grandparents are of the Black Streak Wood People and my paternal grandparents are of the White Mountain Apache people. I was born in Gallup, New Mexico, currently reside at my homestead located in Timber Ridge, and have an older sibling and younger sibling whom I hope to inspire through the accomplishments I have received. It is important for me to contribute to my family and live up to the long line of strong and resilient ladies I come from.”
Cajaun attends the Navajo Technical University and as a nursing student, she aspires to become a Midwife Nurse. In addition to being a full-time student, she is a longtime rodeo competitor, Navajo Dance Group member and has served as an ambassador multiple times including: Miss Indian Miyamura (2017-2018), Miss Eastern Navajo Teen (2019-2021), Miss Navajo Technical University (2021-2022), 1st Runner Up for the Indian Junior Rodeo Association Queen (2017-2018), and this year is a featured model in the “2023 Women Of The Navajo Calendar”. While serving in these positions, Cajaun has learned the importance of community and being an ambassador inspired her to become fluent in the Navajo Language. She completed the Navajo Nation Bilingual Seal Assessment. This assessment is conducted in the Navajo language and responses must be given in the Navajo language. Cajaun received high scores and shares that each experience continuously has contributed to her life and leadership development skills.
Growing up, Cajaun’s family has a long history within the rodeo industry. Competing runs in her blood and she enjoys participating in rodeo especially because of the intensity of the events and the challenge of trying to get the fastest time! Her favorite timed event is Barrel Racing which gets her adrenaline going “because of how fast you are moving on the back of a 600lb horse.” Cajaun feels rodeo has contributed to her life skills in many ways including; responsibility, physical skills, work ethic, and teamwork.
Through these diverse initiatives, especially meaningful to Cajaun is the connectedness she has felt to her Navajo culture throughout these experiences. She looks forward, as she continues her life journey, to expanding her cultural knowledge, education and leadership goals. As Miss Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Queen she serves as an ambassador for both the annual Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial event and Native American & Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, she will encourage youth from all indigenous tribes to connect with their cultural identities. Cajaun shares, “Being connected with our traditions, we celebrate our lives through Earth & Water. We celebrate the triumph, hardship and tenacity of our ancestors.”
Through her role as Miss Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Queen, Cajaun serves as an ambassador for both the annual Ceremonial event and Native American & Indigenous Peoples. As a role model her efforts will empower Native American & Indigenous Peoples, while simultaneously representing them in both a traditional and contemporary sense. Cajaun’s personal platform is to “strongly encourage Native American & Indigenous youth to find the beauty within themselves, by culturally being connected and celebrating their lives through Earth & Water.”