Emotions filled the Carriage House Inn as the 2017 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess was announced Sunday afternoon.
After an unsuccessful attempt last year, Savanna Sparvier from Siksika Nation was crowned the champion. Tears rolled down her face and joy filled her heart when she heard her name called.
“Every type of happiness you can feel I’m feeling it right now,” Sparvier said.
Even though her reign has just started, Sparvier, 19, said she could already imagine all the things she wants to accomplish this year.
One of them is bridging the gap between First Nations and non First Nations people.
“I want to be able to instill a sense of hope and friendship between them,” she said.
Adding that she wants to share with the Calgary Stampede her knowledge of Treaty 7 and the Blackfoot Confederacy.
Last year’s princess, Vanessa Stiffarm is already proud of Sparvier.
“She was the one who actually stood out to me, she was very outspoken and just gave it her all,” Stiffarm said.
Each year for the past 51 years the Calgary Stampede chooses one young indigenous woman from one of the Treaty 7 nations surrounding Calgary.
Treaty 7 is made up of five nations — Siksika, Piikani, Kainai, Stoney and Tsuut’ina.
Once chosen, the princess shares her knowledge of the Blackfoot Culture with the Stampede and the world.
Sparvier has a busy schedule ahead of her. According to Stampede committee member Mackenzi Mitchell, the next few days are going to be filled with Stampede training, from public speaking to wardrobe training and attending her first public appearances.
“I’d say about 10 events she’s got in this week,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said Sparvier has big moccasins to fill, but will do a great job representing her nation.
- By Tawnya Plain Eagle