Calgary Stampede's First Nations Princess crowned
Sikapinakii Low Horn was awarded the title out of three finalists
The Calgary Stampede's 2022 First Nations Princess has been crowned after a month-long competition that included traditional dance, public speaking, cultural knowledge and personal interviews.
Sikapinakii Low Horn, 26, is a traditional dancer from the Siksika Nation. She said she was both shocked and very happy to be chosen for the role.
Low Horn goes to the Stampede every year to help her grandparents with their teepee at Elbow River Camp on the event's grounds.
"I'm very proud to be able to represent my family," she said after she was crowned.
As the Stampede's First Nations Princess, Low Horn will attend hundreds of events in the upcoming year, as well as act as an ambassador of Elbow River Camp.
Being chosen as this year's First Nations Princess is in and of itself an act of reconciliation, said Low Horn.
She said she hopes to use her new platform to act as a role model and utilize her talents as a storyteller.
"I'm very excited to be able to tell my story, and the stories of the Treaty 7 people and especially the Blackfoot people. I think that's what I'm most excited about."
She's also looking forward to showcasing her beadwork to Stampede visitors at Elbow River Camp.
Opening future doors
Steve McDonough is the president and chairman of the board of the Calgary Stampede.
"This is a fantastic day and a fantastic event," said McDonough.
"Having three young First Nations women stepping in and stepping up on behalf of their culture and their community, it's just so amazing to be a part of."
Low Horn took part in the last day of the competition on Sunday alongside two other finalists, Alayiah Wolf Child and Myghan Wolfleg.
Low Horn's older sister, Ninaakii, said she can't wait to see how the experience will open future doors for her sibling.
"She's incredibly humble and she holds so much knowledge and she wants to pass it on to Indigenous youth … and [non-Indigenous] people in Calgary and beyond," said Ninaakii.
"There's too many things to say just right now but [I'm] overwhelmed with joy [and] I am so proud of her."
Low Horn is completing a master's degree in fine arts at the University of Calgary.
She said she isn't too worried about balancing her studies and her new role as First Nations Princess.
"I'm doing my thesis on Blackfoot cowboys and so it'll be pretty easy to work it all together."
With files from Terri Trembath