By John Watson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Sikapinakii Low Horn will be representing Siksika Nation, as well as her family tipi, as she has been crowned the Calgary Stampede’s First Nation’s Princess for 2022.
Low Horn was crowned with the title alongside Jenna Peters, who was named the Calgary Stampede Princess.
“It’s been very busy, but (Jenna and I) are both enjoying the things that have come our way,” said Low Horn. “I get to work alongside Jenna, but as well go to the different nations of Treaty Seven. I think the big thing that I look forward to is engaging with the youth of Treaty Seven and building that relationship.”
Peters added this year is slightly different for the Stampede. Typically, Stampede royalty consists of a queen, two princesses and the First Nations Princess. This year, it is just Low Horn and herself.
“I think it’s a step forward in reconciliation and so, for us, I think it’s just being strong ambassadors for the Calgary Stampede,” said Peters. “It’s very exciting, it’s kind of been a whirlwind already and we’ve hit the ground running. We have had a couple of events and our schedules are getting jam-packed, but I think we are both really excited to be representing our cultures and represent the Calgary Stampede.”
According to the princesses, their two roles are slightly different, as were the three weeks of competition they participated in prior to their coronation.
Peters explained she and Low Horn began with several competition segments together, including a speech clinic before separating to conclude the pageant.
“We have interviews, there are several mix-and-mingle (events) where there is a room full of secret judges, so you have to interact with everyone and try to let your personality shine and be your authentic self,” said Peters.
Low Horn shared similar experiences.
“For the First Nations princess, it’s kind of the same process, but a little different. We showcase our cultures and our knowledge on the history of Stampede with the First Nations people,” explained Low Horn. “We do a speech as well, we do impromptu questions and we do our dancing.”
For her, Low Horn said being crowned princess is an excellent opportunity to be a role model for other Indigenous youth, as well as to represent her families’ names with pride.
“I also have my Low Horn family and my Duck Chief family and so being able to carry those names and represent them means a lot to me,” she said. “I want to be the best role model that I can be for indigenous youth as a whole and be able to relay a positive message … I want to encourage Indigenous youth to really follow what they want and to not be shy, to not be scared.”
The Calgary Stampede is scheduled to take place this summer from July 8 to 17.