Every year at the Chickasaw Nation's Annual Meeting & Festival, girls and young women from across the state compete to be recognized as Chickasaw royalty. The Chickasaw Princess Program consists of three categories—Little Miss Chickasaw, Chickasaw Jr. Princess and Chickasaw Princess—accepting entrants ages seven to 25. Contestants are judged on poise, traditional dress, talent, a question-and-answer session and an interview. Over the course of the following year, the crowned princesses serve as cultural ambassadors for the Chickasaw Nation, making appearances at events around the country. In order to represent their people, they are taught traditional skills like beading and shell shaking. Each reigning princess also participates in a "homeland trip" to Tupelo, Miss., to connect with the ancestral lands of the Chickasaw people. The princesses, who are generally inspired by Chickasaw elders in their families, learn to be role models for younger girls and bearers of the Chickasaw culture. To learn more about the Chickasaw Princess Program, visit www.Chickasaw.net.