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The Happy Canyon Board of Directors is proud to announce Clarise Huesties and Mary Rivera as the 2021 Happy Canyon Princesses. They will serve as the 2021 ambassadors for the Happy Canyon Night Show, Oregon’s official outdoor night pageant.

“We are excited to have these two well-rounded, talented young women represent Happy Canyon this next year,” said Happy Canyon President Tanner Hawkins. “Their family roots run deep in Happy Canyon, so we’re honored to have them serve as our representatives throughout the region.”

Clarise Huesties

Huesties’ Native name is X̣ix̣cíyu Hiʔlakáʔwin̓, which means Little Star Lit Up in Niimiipuu. She has called the Pendleton area her home for most of her life, and graduated from Weston-McEwen High School in 2015. Huesties is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in psychology online through Ashworth College, and is a Sahaptin Language Apprentice with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Huesties enjoys music — she plays the guitar, piano, ukulele and violin — and enjoys traditional gathering of first foods and making regalia. Upon completion of her education, Huesties plans to help with the preservation of Native languages and eventually become a school psychologist.

Huesties is an enrolled member of the CTUIR, and is Cayuse, Nez Perce, Walla Walla, Umatilla, Palouse, Lakota Oglala Sioux and Winnebago. Her parents are Brian Huesties and the late Mylie Nash-Huesties. Her great-grandmother, Velma Patrick-Burke, headed the Happy Canyon tipi and Indian props maintenance and setup for more than 40 years. Huesties’ great-great-grandmother, Ada Jones-Patrick, wrote the Happy Canyon welcome speech that is given at the start of each show.

Huesties continues a long tradition of Happy Canyon royalty in her family. Her grandmother, Alvina Burke-Huesties, was a Happy Canyon princess in 1963, while her aunts, Esther Huesties and Althea Huesties-Wolf, followed in 1993 and 1996, respectively. Seven other family members have also been Happy Canyon princesses. Her great-great-great-grandfather “Poker” Jim led the Natives to and through the first Pendleton Round-Up in 1910.

“Becoming a Happy Canyon princess means I get to represent my family and our history, our people, and the Happy Canyon the best way I can,” she said. “I also get the chance to be someone my little cousins, nieces, and other impressionable young girls can look up to and feel inspired.”

Huesties has been a mainstay in the Happy Canyon show since birth, when she participated while on a baby board. She started her own part in 2002 at age 5 — her family used to carry in the corn and wood led by her grandmothers, but now they represent the bride’s family in the Wedding scene.

Mary Rivera

Mary Rivera, whose Indian name is Kuckuc Piswe (Little Rock), is the daughter of Nora and Shawn Rivera, and she’s a 2018 graduate of Pendleton High School. She’s an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of the Chippawa Indians in Montana.

She is currently a sophomore at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, where she’s studying pre-nursing. She plans to transfer to Central Washington University next fall, where she’ll continue her education and pursue a degree in dietetics and nutrition. After graduation, Rivera would like to return to Eastern Oregon where she hopes to work as a Registered Dietitian for the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Clinic or another clinic in the Pendleton area. She enjoys bird hunting, running, snowboarding, cooking and restoring and refurbishing furniture.

As a young girl, Rivera participated in the Junior Indian Beauty Pageant during the Pendleton Round-Up, and participated in Happy Canyon in the Tribes from Other Nations and Street scenes. Her aunt, Drew Johnson Rivera, was a Happy Canyon princess in 2000.

“It has been a dream of mine to wear the title since I was a very young girl,” Rivera said. “I consider it an honor to represent the Happy Canyon for 2021.”

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