Rachel Evangelisto made history as the first Indigenous woman to win the Miss Minnesota crown, with ambitious goals to make an impact

MINNEAPOLIS – History made history with the newly crowned Miss Minnesota on Friday at Eden Prairie as Rachel Evangelisto, 25, became the first Indigenous woman to receive the crown.

Evangelisto describes the moments before she knew she had won.

“I stood there shaking, waiting to see what would happen next,” Evangelisto said, “and then I think I passed out. [crown] on my head, I just remember saying, “Stop, I have to appreciate this and what’s going on in my life right now.”

Evangelisto is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which is a Sioux Lakota nation that borders North and South Dakota.

She was one of only two local women to make the top three this year. For her, winning the Miss Minnesota title was all about representation.

“I’m going to go through all these barriers and say I need to be authentic, I need to be truthful and just share my experience,” Evangelisto said.

Evangelisto showcases her heritage in every way, including the jewelry she wears every day.

“I make all the earrings myself,” Evangelisto said. “I make ribbon skirts myself and take great pride in using my hands and being creative.”

She has competed in beauty pageants since she was 13, winning the title of Miss Winona to earn a spot in the Miss Minnesota pageant.

When she’s not showing off her skills in Chinese praying fu kung fu techniques, she works as an advocate for the Indian Child Protection Act (IKZA).

“I care about the best interests of Native American youth who are involved in child protection and foster care,” Evangelisto said.

After her reign ends, she will complete a degree from the Institute of Native American Law and Sovereignty at Mitchell Hamline Law School in St. Louis. Paul.

“I’m so excited to be able to start law school and become a legal entity, I feel, in Indian Country,” Evalgelisto said.

But first she plans to visit all 11 Indigenous peoples of Minnesota and inspire the young girls who live there.

“Your strength is not determined by your wealth or your successes. It is determined by your community and what you give to the world,” Evangelisto said. “And I want to show people that if you have a dream, you can make it come true.”

Evangelisto will compete for the Miss America title in December.

For more information about Miss America Minnesota, click here.