indigenous dream cowgirl magazine

Featuring Shayla Conner
Photography by Jana Schuessler

OPENING SPREAD: Vintage Dress, Breann Beasley, Saddle Tramp Brand,

Cowhide Vest, Branch Ranch; Vintage Leather Earrings by unknown Northern Cheyenne designer.

Top, Scully,; Buckle, Montana Silversmiths,; Earrings, Saddle Tramp Brand,

Wilson Leather, Black Skirt & Jacket, Wilson Leather,; Earrings, SaddleTramp Brand,

Scarf, B. Yellowtail, Cardigan, B. Yellowtail,; Jeans, Levi’s Vintage.

Traditional Northern Cheyenne Tribe elk tooth dress (Ivory teeth), includes breast plate, choker, hair ties. Concho belt symbol is a traditional morning star.

 Earrings, SaddleTramp Brand; Dress Custom Design by Breann Beasley, SaddleTramp Brand,

Dress, Breann Beasley, Saddle Tramp Brand,; Hat, Kennimer Co.,; Boots, Houston Boot Company,

Shirt, Scully,

Billings, Montana cowgirl, and Northern Cheyenne Native American Shayla Conner is using her personal platform to bring awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) issues across the US and beyond. In 2013, her cousin Hanna Harris went missing on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and was found murdered several days later. Through her two-year reign as Miss Sheridan WYO Rodeo Queen, she used her platform to raise awareness and inspired others to support the cause during rodeo performances at the 2021 Sheridan WYO Rodeo.

The red handprint across her face is the symbolic representation of this issue that affects so many communities. While she was rodeo queening, Shayla learned the value of the “snowball effect.” She says, “If one person heard about my story and how it affected me, then they passed it on. Sometimes people that we tell know bigger people, and sometimes those people have the resources to come to the reservation and help.”

She has since been given the chance to work with a Child Safety Network in California that is creating a project dedicated to MMIWG. Shayla is very grateful for the opportunity to expand her reach and create solutions to a cause so close to her heart. “I would never have gotten the opportunity if I didn’t use my voice. I’ll be doing media, Public Service Announcements on the radio, TVs, and then going to different reservations and talking about what we’re coming up with that will help lessen the numbers of men, women, and children going missing.” 

In her free time, the 23-year-old enjoys playing soccer, riding horses, and being immersed in anything outdoors. She obtained an Associate’s degree in Animal Science and has now set her sights on a Bachelor’s degree to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinary technician.

Photographer  | Jana Schuessler @janaschuessler
Model | Shayla Conner 2021 Sheridan WYO Rodeo Queen @shaylac1
Production | Great Social Club @greatsocialclub
Creative Direction | Natalie Steger @natalietsteger
Producer | @kacey__perez @thehouseofperez
Designer/Stylist | Breann Beasley SaddleTramp Brand @saddletrampbrand
Stylist/Cultural Advisors | Sheridan Wyo Royalty Board @sheridanwyorodeoroyalty
Styling Assistant | Ashley Connely Mullinax @adanyellc
Hairstylist | Paula Pacheco @prpacheco28
Makeup | Lezly Delgado | Bonita Beauty Studio @lezlydelgadomakeupartistry
Makeup Assistant | Savannah Maddox @littlemamasav