The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess joined the Calgary Stampede and Travel Alberta for Destination Canada’s 2016 Canada Corroboree in Australian cities Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney. The Corroboree is a major tourism roadshow that informs travel agents, tour operators, wholesalers and media about all the incredible things Canada has to offer. Here are some of Vanessa’s favourite memories from Down Under.
Jingle Dance at the Sydney Opera House
Jingle dancing in Sydney’s most iconic building was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The dance was part of a media lunch at the Bennelong Restaurant in the Opera House. I’ve never met kinder people; everyone was interested in my culture and knowing how I became the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess; many had heard of or seen me on Facebook. It still feels very surreal when others want a picture with me or my autograph. I’m so happy and honoured to share First Nations culture and traditions with others, especially a country like Australia.
Sharing the history of Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede
Australians were fascinated about the history of the First Nations people at the Calgary Stampede. For example, most did not know that the Calgary Stampede was the only place we could practice our traditions in 1912, the first Stampede. I shared that Indian Village would be moving to ENMAX Park this July.
During the roadshow, I had a number of opportunities to perform and tell the story of the Jingle Dance, explain my culture and traditions, and present about the new home of Indian Village and the relationship that Stampede holds with the First Nations people.
Meeting local Australians and learning about indigenous culture
The culture and atmosphere of Australia was amazing. I was always listening for the accent and practicing my “G’day mate” when I ran into locals.
I met several indigenous people in Sydney and they were just as curious about my culture as I was about theirs. In Australia, the paintings on their bodies tell where they come from and what tribe they are from; whereas Blackfoot people dress and bead our moccasins a certain way. We both respect the earth as a spirit. Meeting and learning from these people was a moment I think about often and I cherish the beliefs and traditions they have.
A few fun side adventures:
Phillip Island Penguin Parade: I’ve always dreamed of seeing wild penguins. I got to visit Phillip Island and see the penguin parade –little penguins waddling back to their homes. I guess you can say I’m a big kid at heart: one of my childhood dreams came true.
Taronga Zoo in Sydney: I got to take a picture with a koala! I also learned a lot about Australian wildlife from the outback to the ocean.
I just want to give a big thanks to Lindsay Jardine, Stampede tourism sales manager, and Travel Alberta for inviting me to come along and help spread some western hospitality on behalf of the Calgary Stampede. I already miss that beautiful country and all the moments I got to share with Travel Alberta and Lindsay. This year has been nothing but one amazing moment after another.