First Nations Drum would like to congratulate Vanessa Stiffarm from the Blood Tribe, the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. Vanessa’s Blackfoot name is I’kiwayohtowa (Heard All Over) and comes from the sound of thunder. This name was given to her by her grandmother.
Every year, the Calgary Stampede hosts the annual Indian Princess pageant with contestants from the five Treaty Seven First Nations (Tsuu T’ina, Piikani, Stoney, Blood Tribe, and Siksika Nations). The winner is chosen from a panel of judges representative of the Calgary Stampede, the Treaty 7 Nations, and Calgary Stampede sponsors to be the official representative of the Calgary Stampede and Indian Village, presented by Penn West.
Vanessa is a Ladies Jingle Dress and Fancy Shawl dancer and is working towards her goal of completing her undergrad degree in Biochemistry in order to pursue her lifelong dream to be a pediatrician. Her parents are Evelyn Killsback from the Blood Tribe and John Stiffarm from the A’aniiinin (Gros Ventre Tribe), and her grandparents are Roger and Cathy Hunt, also from the Blood Tribe. All have taught Vanessa about her First Nations culture and traditions and are key supporters to her.
Vanessa is honoured to be a role model for her community and looks forward to encouraging other First Nations women to strive for their life goals while maintaining their traditions and culture. Throughout Vanessa’s reign, she hopes to educate people about her traditions and culture by sharing her experiences of growing up in a Pow Wow family and what she has learned along the Pow Wow trail.
As part of the Official Stampede Royalty program, the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess will make hundreds of appearances during her reign and will talk to those she meets about the rich, colourful First Nations culture. Vanessa embraces the legacy of the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess title and will wear the crown proudly as she represents the Tribes of Treaty 7, the Indian Village, and the Calgary Stampede.
In 2016, the Indian Village will be moving to a new location along the banks of the Elbow River. This larger Village will have improved facilities, expanded performance areas, and welcoming green space for visitors, tipi holders, performers and Indian Village employees.
The 2016 Calgary Stampede will take place July 8-17, 2016.