Crosby crowned Choctaw Princess


When Shemah Ladania Crosby was announced as the new Choctaw Indian Princess last week, she didn’t understand her name had been called.

“I was still looking at some of the girls, saying aren’t you the winner,” Crosby said. “And then they opened up their arms to me and I realized I had won.”

Crosby’s was the 66th crowning, a tradition that began in 1955 and is held on the opening night of the Choctaw Indian Fair. Crosby becomes the official ambassador of the Tribe.

There was a lapse of about an hour after the final competition before the announcement.

“It was extremely nerve-wracking,” Crosby said. “I calmed myself down by listening to Beyonce and talking to the other girls. I tried to not think about it.

“Then when the time came, I just burst out in tears. I still can’t believe it.”

Crosby was sponsored by the Pearl River R.V. Park. She lives in the Standing Pine Community and is the daughter of Lane Denson and Oga Crosby.

She said once she decided to enter the Princess pageant, it took about two months to prepare.

“I wanted to be the pride of my people,” Crosby said. “Also, I wanted the people who passed on to be proud of me, too. All of my ancestors, particularly my grandmother, Lena Denson, the former first lady. She passed of COVID-19 last year. I am so glad we are at the Fair this summer, especially after the terrible year we had last summer.

“It took time to get my dress made,” Crosby said. “I love these dresses so much. They remind me of my grandmother. She used to make dresses like these.”

She knows she has a busy year coming up.

“Right now, I am looking forward to meeting all of my people who are here,” Crosby said, “And then I am going back to school and honoring my tribe the best way that I can.”

Crosby graduated from Choctaw Central in 2020. She is entering her sophomore year at Mississippi State University.

This has turned out to be a very good summer for Crosby. She was named the Choctaw princess and Mississippi State won the College World Series.

“Hail State,” Crosby said. “I didn’t get to go to Omaha. I was preparing for the pageant. But I watched it on TV.”

She is an anthropology major.

“I wanted to learn about my Choctaw culture,” Crosby said. “I am half black and I also wanted to learn about my black culture, too.

“Once I am done with the anthropology degree, I want to go and get a medical anthropology degree. Then, maybe I can come back and help my tribe in the best way I can.”

She has been a model since 2014 and has had some pictures published. When she was at Choctaw Central, Crosby said she was known as “The Model.”

In her off time, she likes to do beadwork and enjoy time with her family.

“During exam week, I love to paint my nails because it calms me down,” Crosby said. “But when I get back home, I play golf with my grandfather. Don’t ask me about my score. And, I go into the garden with him. He makes sure all of his granddaughters work in that garden.”

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