Meet Vanessa Stiffarm, the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. Vanessa is 25 years old and from the Kanai First Nation, also known as the Blood Tribe. In Sydney last week, she performed a Jingle Dress & Fancy Shawl dance at a promotional event for Destination Canada. What a privilege it was to meet this delightful and inspiring young woman who is pursuing her dream of becoming a paediatrician. As Indian Princess for the world famous Calgary Stampede, she is wearing her crown proudly, dedicating her reign to encouraging other young First Nations people to strive for their goals while maintaining their tradition and culture. Vanessa’s Blackfoot name, given to her by her grandmother, is i’kiwayohtowa, which comes from the sound of thunder and means Heard All Over – a name she is certainly living up to.
Photo © Christine Salins
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