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Ak-Chin Celebrates 47th Birthday with Inaugural "Masik Tash"

Ak-Chin Indian Community ended the year by recognizing and celebrating its sovereignty by hosting the first Masik Tash or "birthday" piast here in the Community on Saturday, December 20th. On this day in 1961, the Secretary of the Interior approved Ak-Chin's Articles of Association, which formally organized the Community.

The festive celebration on Saturday was preceded by several events. A men's basketball tournament began on Monday, December 15th with 20 teams competing. And for the first time ever, the Community had its first Miss Ak-Chin pageant in the Recreation Center gym on Friday, December 19, 2008. Two young ladies from the community, Mathilda Reyna Miguel, 17, daughter of Genevieve Miguel, and Ashley Vincent, 17, daughter of Lemuel Vincent and Judy Hall participated.

Litefoot, a.k.a. G. Paul Davis was the Master of Ceremonies during the pageant and special guest of Ak-Chin. Litefoot is best known as "Little Bear" from the movie "The Indian in the Cupboard". A member of the Cherokee nation, he is also an award winning rapper, clothing designer, motivational speaker and actor.

At the end of the pageant, Mathilda Reyna Miguel was crowned Miss Ak-Chin. The basket crown featuring the Ak-Chin tribal seal, and made from native desert plants, was made by Sally Antone. A coronation dance followed Friday evening at the Community Feast house vato, featuring the music of Native Creed.

Saturday's Birthday events began with the first parade ever going down Farrell road. Led by the Ak-Chin Veteran's Group, the parade had 28 entries from neighboring tribal communities, tribal departments, visiting tribal royalty and the Maricopa High School band, whose banner included a thank you for the invitation to participate by the MHS cheerleaders.

After the parade, the kid's rodeo, horseshoe and Toka tournaments began with entertainment and food vendors set up at Milton P. Antone Memorial Park. The basketball tournament recommenced after Friday's pageant and at the end of the night on Saturday, Those Guys from Gila River District #4 were named Champions. Runners-Up were Gila River Red Zone from Komatke Village.