It may only be two short months since the end of the 2018 Calgary Stampede, but organizers are already getting the 2019 edition underway.
One of the most important events in the lead up to any Calgary Stampede is the naming of the Stampede Queen and Princesses, and this year’s First Nations Princess has already been announced after a two-week competition.
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19-year-old Astokomii Smith of the Siksika First Nation will have the honour of being the First Nations Princess for the 2019 Calgary Stampede, in which she will ride in the parade, attend events, and act as an ambassador for the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.
According to a September 23 release from the Calgary Stampede, Smith was chosen after a 14-day competition between herself and five other young women. The women had to show their skills in public speaking and traditional dancing before the princess was ultimately chosen.
“It was incredible to watch these six young women demonstrate their culture during the competition,” said Mackenzie Mitchell, of the Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess Committee, in the release.
“Not only do these women have a vast knowledge of their culture, they are poised, well-spoken, and educated individuals. I know that Astokomii will represent the five nations of Treaty 7 and the Calgary Stampede beautifully.”
Smith, a recent graduate from Siksika Outreach and recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Highest Academics, is the current Indigenous Liason for the Town of Strathmore, according to the release.
Astokomii’s name translates to “Calling Thunder” and “Voice of Thunder” in Blackfoot, and she “strives to be a role model for the younger generation and believes that our mental and physical health should be put first and that education is our new way of survival,” the release states.
A transfer ceremony was held on Sunday in which the past First Nations Princess, Cieran Starlight, passed the ceremonial crown on to Smith.