Being named the new Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess came as a surprise to Sikapinakii Low Horn, a 26-year-old Traditional dancer from the Siksika Nation.
“I was definitely shocked,” she said Sunday afternoon, following a competition that included Indigenous dance, public speaking, cultural knowledge and personal interviews. “Honestly, I never thought I’d be here.”
Low Horn acknowledged the other women from Treaty 7 nations she was alongside that afternoon.
Sharing the win with her adopted grandparents was especially sweet for Low Horn.
“I’m very, very proud to be able to represent my family and their teepee.”
Low Horn is a fine arts graduate student at the University of Calgary completing her thesis on Blackfoot cowboys.
She aims to be a role model for other Indigenous women and use her platform to tell stories of her people, her family, the land and history of Treaty 7.
“I’m a natural-born storyteller and I’m very excited to be able to tell the stories of the Treaty 7 people and especially the Blackfoot people,” she said.
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Low Horn also saw being a First Nation Princess as a form of reconciliation.
The appearance and speaking schedule for a First Nations Princess is a busy one, one Low Horn looks forward to.
Calgary Stampede President and Chair of the board Steve McDonough said there was a strong field of three Indigenous women vying for the title, a title that reflects the relationship the Stampede has had with First Nations going back to 1912.
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“The title represents a learning process for youth and as we had heard a role model,” he said. “We had seen every First Nations Princess become a role model in their community.”
The crowning of First Nations Princess was paused for the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Low Horn said she is looking forward to returning to the Elbow River camp, wearing her beadwork.
“People at the Elbow River camp just love to touch the beadwork. And so I think that’s the (item) I’m excited to show.”
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