Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
In just over a month the Royal Family will make another triumphant return to Alberta’s largest festival.
The Queen and Princesses function as global ambassadors for Calgary Stampede. They represent western heritage, hospitality and pride of place on behalf of Calgarians.
Don’t think for a second that these women are just there to smile, wave at crowds and look awesome underneath cowboy hats. The Queen and Princesses can ride proficiently, have a deep passion for Stampede culture and most of all are outstanding ambassadors for Stampede. The three were crowned following an intense, month-long contest.
The Indian Princess acts as the official representative of Indian Village, representing the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. Treaty 7 is the last of the Numbered Treaties made between the Government of Canada and the Plains First Nations signed on 22 September 1877. For over 100 years, Indian Village has promoted and preserved the relationship between the Calgary Stampede and Treaty 7 families.
They are a formidable team and together the Calgary Stampede Queen, Princesses and Indian Princess are one of the key reasons why thousands of rodeo fans will head for Alberta this summer. Long before tourists even considered their summer vacation budgets these industrious women were on the road promoting the event in Canada and around the world.
Indian Village gets a dose of Starlight
One of the things I enjoyed about Stampede was checking out Indian Village and meeting the Indian Princess.
Inside Indian Village are 26 tipis, each very different with its own unique design on the outside and beadwork, buckskin outfits and artifacts are displayed on the inside. The tipis are open to the public and with permission you can enter the home of an elder, learn about the tipi and meet an interesting person.
Each year a young woman from one of the tribes is chosen to be the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. This year 21 year old Cieran Starlight from the Tsuut’ina First Nation has the honour.
“All of these young women have an incredible passion and knowledge for First Nations cultures and it is amazing to see them shine throughout this competition,” says Mackenzi Mitchell, Calgary Stampede Indian Princess committee. “We’re very excited to introduce Cieran Starlight, and know her poise and accomplishments will serve her well over the next year as the 2018 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess.”
Besides attending numerous events throughout the year Starlight will welcome visitors to the Stampede to the Indian Village and the Calgary Stampede. Currently enrolled and attending Alberta College of Art & Design where she is studying to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Starlight recently had her paintings showcased in a local gallery in Calgary.
Long live the Queen and Princesses
This year the Calgary Stampede Queen is Lindsay Lockwood, a fifth generation Calgarian who is proud to represent the city to the world as a member of the Royal Trio. Lockwood is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts with an Honours Specialization in Psychology, with a goal of attending medical school.
She is supported by two lovely princesses including Jaden Holle, who is working towards a Bachelor of Education through the Metis Teacher Education Program delivered by the University of Saskatchewan and Jessica Wilson who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Mary’s University.
“Lindsay, Jaden and Jessica are smart and skilled young women who now have the opportunity to share their passion for our city and the Calgary Stampede with the world,” said Kathie James, chair of the Stampede Royalty committee. “They will be amazing ambassadors in the year to come.”
MORE ABOUT CALGARY STAMPEDE
Dates: July 6-15, 2018
Main Desk Phone: 403-261-0101 / 1-800-661-1767
Ticket Phone: 403-269-9822 / 1-800-661-1767
Address: 1410 Olympic Way SE