Introducing the Calgary Stampede Indian Village Princess 2016
CULTURE: Vanessa Stiffarm from the Kainai Nation is the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Village Princess. Vanessa is 25 years old and was chosen in October to represent Treaty 7 First Nations — Tsuu T’ina Nation, Piikani Nation, Stoney Nakoda Nation, Kainai Nation and Siksika Nation. So far she is enjoying the experience which has taken her all over the world.
What is your role as the Calgary Stampede Indian Village Princess?
“As the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess it is my role to make hundreds of appearances throughout my reign and talk to those I meet about the rich, colorful First Nations culture, the Calgary Stampede and the Indian Village. I am to be a positive role model and to encourage First Nation youth throughout Calgary & Treaty 7.”
How has the experience been so far?
“I feel so blessed to experience something like this. I’ve had a fantastic year being an ambassador for the Calgary Stampede and Calgary Stampede Indian Village. I have covered many places throughout the world, everywhere from Australia, London, Berlin to Winnipeg, Canada. I have felt that so many I have talked to have been intrigued by my culture and First Nations. I am very honored to share stories and educate others about my cultural history and the Calgary Stampede.”
What strengths do you bring to the position?
“I’m a very positive person and a hard worker. I always like bringing a smile to others and I make sure I go above and beyond for my role.
I grew up in a Pow-wow family that has given me the knowledge of my culture, history and I can educate others of the traditions we carry.”
What have you learned from the experience?
“I’ve learned a lot of patience about myself. I make sure I take the time with everyone I meet and also not to rush and calm myself.”
What do you enjoy most about the Calgary Stampede?
“I don’t have a specific favorite for the Stampede, as I love every aspect of the Stampede! But, I grew up around the rodeo. I would always watch the bull riding with my grandpa and it’s one of the top things I love doing!”
Who inspires you to do the work you do?
“My baby sister gives me the motivation to work hard every day. I tried out for this role because I wanted her to have a positive role model in her life. I continue to work hard every day to make her proud.”
What advice do you have for other young ladies your age?
“My advice is to keep moving forward. Keep working hard towards your goals and to remember that the sacrifices you make will pay off. Make sure to always believe in yourself!
I spend every day encouraging other young First Nations women to strive for their life goals while maintaining their traditions and culture.”