There are two weeks left to apply to be the 2019 Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess and I encourage all young women who are interested to go for it and try out. Not only does the First Nations Princess learn about herself and her cultures, she helps teach people all over the world about how powerful and resilient our people are, while being a role model for other First Nations women. We need more young women as role models for our future generations and our current youth, and there are so many people I have taught this year about our cultures and our people, an opportunity I never would have had if I didn’t apply.
This is me in Berlin! One of the many trips I was able to take throughout my year as Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess.
One of the most valuable things I have learned about myself this year was just how much knowledge I have to offer others. I have had long and meaningful conversations with complete strangers about topics such as education, cultural sensitivity, language, dances and so much more. I was able to bring forth my own voice and teachings that were passed down to me so that I could help bring understanding to Tsuu T’ina people and the Treaty 7 Nations.
Here are the top things I learned from being the 2018 First Nations Princess:
- This year gave me a new understanding of what I am capable of and just how far out of my comfort zone I could push myself in representing Indigenous people and our cultures.
- I learned so much about First Nations cultures not only in the Treaty 7 territory but also from different cultures around the world.
- Even though in Treaty 7 we have three nations that identify as being Blackfoot (Piikani, Kainai, and Siksika), I learned that dialects can be differentiated between the three tribes.
- I learned the differences between grand entries across all five tribes of Treaty 7, including how we all have unique flag and honour songs.
- While I was in Ottawa, I learned about the progression of their First Nations people in the eastern provinces and how they have made great strides to protect their individual cultures.
- I learned a lot about the Calgary Stampede organization, including discovering many amazing committees that are open for volunteerism that dedicate their services to the Calgary community year-round.
- Many of the Stampede programs are dedicated to engaging our youth with opportunities which include the Stampede Royalty program, Stampede Poster Competition, Stampede School, Calgary Stampede Showband, The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede and so much more. There are several scholarship opportunities that students can apply for and hundreds of opportunities to gain volunteer experience to build a resume.
- Aside from all these wonderful things, the most important thing I have learned about the Stampede is how it has become a big family of amazing people who donate their time and energy to keep the organization going strong for future generations to come.
Appreciating art with my Stampede sisters, the Stampede Queen & Princesses!
The year spent as First Nations Princess also helped me develop several interpersonal skills such as public speaking, interpersonal relations, cultural sensitivity, networking and educating. I was able to develop these skills early on through addressing crowds of people and thanking them for inviting me out to their events. I mingled with many walks of life, both young and old, and had heart-to-heart conversations by providing people with a safe space to ask me questions that they were often too shy to ask others.
I also gained many experiences to help me on my journey through my education and my career as I was introduced to many professionals from different career backgrounds such as athletics, oil and gas and even some involved in the arts, which I am most interested in.
Getting up close with the Panda bears – Calgary’s newest Calgary Zoo members!
All in all, being the First Nations Princess was so much fun! I was able to participate in so many events. Banquets, school visits and the Calgary White Hat Awards pep rally were some of my favourite events.
Being in this incredible volunteer position has given me a different perspective on where I see my life going from here and has given me so much knowledge and friendships that I know I will carry dear to my heart for all my life.
(L-R) Stampede Queen Lindsay Lockwood with Stampede Princesses Jessica Wilson and Jaden Holle – and me!