Madison Switch-Fixico: Native American Princess

Wearing+her+regalia+and+stash%2C+sophomore+Madison+Switch-Fixico+poses+in+front+of+nature.

Courtesy of the Switch-Fixico Family

Wearing her regalia and stash, sophomore Madison Switch-Fixico poses in front of nature.

Drum beats can be heard simultaneously with the clashing of bells, necklaces, and other regalia, as folks from different Native American tribes surround the arena. While some gouge on Indian tacos and lemonade, others browse the jewelry and art vendors– and that one toy stand with the inflatable characters that every Native loves.

Sophomore Madison Switch-Fixico holds roses close to her heart after watching a powwow. (Photo Courtesy of Switch-Fixico Family)

Next to that stand is sophomore Madison Switch-Fixico, a member of the Ioway Tribe and the current Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma City.

Attending powwows ever since she was a baby, Switch-Fixico finds them to be more meaningful than just a gathering. A powwow is a traditional ceremony of Native Americans from all different tribes where they dance, be with their ancestors and spend time together. A grand entrance of  the Eagle Staff, followed by dancers and veterans holding flags, marks the start of the ceremony. Contests are also held for each type of dance and age category.

It was at these events that Switch-Fixico earned numerous titles such as the 2016-18 Jr. Miss Ioway Tribal Princess, and 2019-20 Moore Public Schools JOM Princess.

Following the beat of the drum, she lets the music take over as she performs.

She dances the Jingle Dress Dance (famous for its healing abilities) at powwows and school events. Rows of metal cones adorn a traditional jingle dress but she adds her own touch by decorating it with floral designs important to her tribe.

“We’ve always been taught to only think good thoughts when you’re putting your regalia on because if you think negative thoughts, it carries on with your regalia and it brings bad vibes,” Switch-Fixico said.

She also dances the Southern Cloth and Fancy Shawl. With these dances, Madison uses it as an escape from everyday troubles.

“I feel happy when I dance because pow wows are my getaways from everything. I put my dress on with good thoughts and I am able to let everything go and just focus on the moment and dance for myself and others,” Switch-Fixico said.

I love being able to share my culture with others and show them this huge part of my life. I enjoy educating people on Native American culture. I was a bit insecure when I was younger but I’ve learned to lose all worry and be more confident.”

— Madison Switch-Fixico, 10

She started dancing the moment she began to walk. She learned by watching her mother and other champion Jingle Dress dancers. Although it took her time to stay on beat and get the timing right, she was too a Jingle Dress dancer.

When Switch-Fixico was younger, she was a bit insecure about sharing her culture, unsure what others would think. However, she eventually lost all worry. She grew more confident and enjoyed educating people on Native American culture and things meaningful for her people.

“I was always afraid that people would taunt me for being Native American. There were always remarks from kids, and even adults, but I’ve learned that a lot of people will never understand our ways. I am proud to say that I’m Native American,” Switch-Fixico said.

Since COVID-19’s emergence, there have been two in-person powwows and a few virtual powwow specials. However, Switch-Fixico still dances in her room to bring back the happiness she feels when in her regalia and when munching on Indian tacos.