Some of the most notable Calgary Stampede highlights from 2016

2016 was an eventful year for the Calgary Stampede: our bucking stock started and finished the year winning awards at international rodeos, we welcomed more than one million guests during the wettest Stampede since 1927, and Stampede Park hosted visitors year-round for many different ventures, including the Stampede’s first ever Fall Fair. Here’s a monthly recap highlighting only a few of the many milestones the Stampede saw this year.

January
The Calgary Stampede bucking stock brought in the new year in Denver with some big scores at the National Western Stock Show.
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NWSS photo by Sean Halverson, R-82 Reckless Margie

NWSS photo by Sean Halverson, R-82 Reckless Margie

February
The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm flew to Australia for Destination Canada’s 2016 Canada Corrobree – a major tourism roadshow. Vanessa, along with other members from the Stampede and Travel Alberta, helped inform travel tour operators, wholesalers and media about all the incredible things Canada has to offer.
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February - IP in AUS

March
The Stampede’s Annual General Meeting was held in March. In addition to sharing the highlights from 2015, president & chairman of the board Bill Gray and chief executive officer Warren Connell gave insight into the Stampede’s future by speaking to the Stampede Park development plans. Connell noted that Youth Campus, the TransAlta Performing Arts Studios and Calgary Arts Academy were all well on their way, in addition to the future plans of expanding the BMO Centre, which would provide an estimated 500 full-time jobs and an added $73 million a year to the economy in Alberta and $87 million to Canada’s GDP.
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Bill Gray, president & chairman (L) Warren Connell, chief executive officer (R)

Bill Gray, president & chairman (L) Warren Connell, chief executive officer (R)

April
Aggie Days moved to their new home in the Agrium Western Event Centre. The lunchtime rodeo took place in the new arena and the animals and exhibits were arranged throughout the main level, in the exhibit hall and around the arena.
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Jacket and gloves bought at Indian Village in 1956 return home

Back in early May, Jack Scott emailed me about donating few items his family had picked up at the Calgary Stampede’s Indian Village in 1956 to the Archives. He was emailing from Dalkeith, a small suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland but had plans to come to Calgary at the end of the summer and would like to bring the items along.

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Jack, aged 6, and his sister at the 1956 Stampede. He had the original photo restored, but the Indigenous man’s face remains damaged.

Chatting over coffee, Jack marveled over how much Calgary has changed since he was here in 2001. In a thick Scottish accent, he explained that his dad was in the Air Force and so he, his sister and his Scottish mother moved around. A lot. Jack was born in Manitoba and lived in Whitehorse and Calgary before moving with his family to France and, eventually, Scotland. The jacket and gloves travelled along with them. “There I am, aged six,” he said, pointing at a young boy wearing a too-large headdress in the restored photograph he brought along. It was taken at the time that his family bought the jacket and gloves.

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The front and back of the Stampede Archives’ newest donation: a jacket bought in Indian Village in 1956. On the back, “White Horse Y.T.” has been added in black and white beads. The family had recently moved from Whitehorse to Calgary.

Indian Village gloves

These well-loved beaded riding gloves with gauntlets accompanied the jacket.

“Sorry it’s dirty,” Jack said, pointing to the jacket. “I tried to get someone to clean it in Scotland, but they were too afraid to wreck the beading.” No problem. The wear and tear show how well-loved the jacket and gloves truly were. Jack’s sister used them for years when she was riding, though she complained that the jacket was not warm enough. To solve this, Jack’s mom brought it to a seamstress to line it with one of his dad’s silk sleeping shirts.

The maroon silk shirt that now lines the jacket was actually one of Jack’s dad’s sleeping shirts. It was added to make the jacket warmer.

The maroon silk shirt that now lines the jacket was actually one of Jack’s dad’s sleeping shirts. It was added to make the jacket warmer.

Despite offers from collectors, Jack firmly believed that the items needed to come back to Calgary. Because his family bought it at Indian Village, the Stampede’s Archives are a perfect fit to store, protect and – in the future – display them. Having travelled from Calgary to Europe to Scotland, the jacket and gloves have made a worldwide journey and are now back with the Calgary Stampede.
If you have any items you would like to donate to the Calgary Stampede Archives, please contact archives@calgarystampede.com.

Meet the 2017 Stampede Indian Princess

The Calgary Stampede is pleased to introduce Savanna Sparvier as the 2017 Indian Princess. Savanna is 19 years old and from the Siksika First Nation. Her Blackfoot name is “All Around Snake Woman” which is a third-generation name passed down to her from her Grandmother, who she is named after.

Savanna is a ladies traditional dancer is working towards her goal of becoming a teacher in both the English and Drama departments. Her parents are Sandra Sparvier and Mario Girolami, both from Siksika First Nation. Savanna is a direct descendant of the last traditional Chief of Siksika (Duck Chief).

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess 2017

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How being Indian Princess changed my life and my words of advice for anyone thinking of applying for 2017 Indian Princess

I am about  to complete my reign as the 2016 Indian Princess–I can’t believe it! If you are a Treaty 7 woman between the ages of 18 and 25, I really encourage you to apply for to be the 2017 Indian Princess. You will have the opportunity of a lifetime to share your culture locally, nationally and internationally. Read more in this interview about the incredible places I got to go and people I got to meet. The Calgary Stampede is now accepting applications and the deadline is Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Email Indianprincess@calgarystampede.com for an application or visit my Facebook page for more information.

Calgary Stampede: You are about to wrap up your year as Indian Princess– how do you feel?

Vanessa Stiffarm: It’s kind of bittersweet- I’m excited but I’m also sad. It’s been an amazing year – it’s sad knowing that it’s almost over. But I’m excited to see how many girls try out this year and how the program grows for next year.

Vanessa parade day

CS: Can you sum up the year with three words (or phrases)?
VS: Exciting, full of surprises, memorable Continue reading

A baker’s dozen of ideas for how to spend your Final Sunday at Stampede

Ok, guys, tomorrow is final Sunday. It’s free admission from 10 a.m. to noon. Stampede Park is jam packed with fun rides, great food, crazy adventures, dazzling shows, agriculture, culture and much, much more. Not sure where to start? Here’s a baker’s dozen of ideas. Come celebrate – and have fun!

1. Take a free WestJet Skyride! (Yes, free! All day!)

2. Visit Indian Village. It’s one of the most interesting, vibrant & peaceful places on Stampede Park. Have a bite at the Bannock Booth and browse the arts and crafts fair. Indian Village Closing Ceremonies, 7:30 p.m.

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Indian Princess alumna Amelia Crowshoe on the tradition of tipi design and the University of Calgary Campfire Chat

 

On Tuesday, June 21, National Aboriginal Day, the University of Calgary will present its inaugural Campfire Chat on St. Patrick’s Island. This will be a special event where the community can learn and experience our heritage and First Nations traditions. In addition to a talk by Elder Reg Crowshoe about the aboriginal history of our region, Stampede Indian Princess alumna, Amelia Crowshoe and her family will paint her tipi. We talked to Amelia about the tradition of tipi design and how her experience as Indian Princess has impacted her life. (Read more about the University of Calgary’s Campfire Chat after the interview!)

Calgary Stampede: Your tipi will be painted at the Campfire Chat–Why is your tipi being painted?

Amelia Crowshoe: My grandfather is transferring the tipi design to me. He had a dream about this design and surprised me a couple of months ago with the news that he would be transferring the design to me. In Blackfoot tradition, you can obtain a tipi design in a number of ways: a dream (from creator or spirit world); it can be passed down through the family; or you can approach someone for a transfer of a design.

Tipi painting 4

CS: Can you tell us about the tradition of tipi design?

AC: The Blackfoot people are one of few that still do tipi design transfer. Each design is special to the owners and each design has a story. The stories are sort of privileged information and there is a process to learn about the design. If you want to hear the story of the design, you make an offering to the owner—like tobacco—to honour the information and sharing of the story.

There are common themes in tipi designs. The top of the tipi represents the stars and constellations that are important to our people. The story of the design is told in the middle. At the bottom, the designs symbolize where the story took place. A flat line represents the prairies, bumps represent the foothills and peaks represent the mountains.

Tipi painting 3

On some designs there is a cross at the back that represents the moth. This indicates that the design came from a dream.

Different symbols indicate that the design is from the spirit world or from one of our origin or foundational stories.

CS: What is it like to paint a tipi?

AC: To paint a tipi in the right way, you have to be transferred the rite to paint a design. This is a process that we follow in our culture where the knowledge is passed in a way that maintains the integrity of the practice. In our family, my grandpa designs the tipi. He stretches out the tipi canvas, creates the design the way that he was transferred, and then we paint it as a family. It’s such a large undertaking but once you finish and set it up, it’s so amazing to see the work on the canvas. It’s an honouring of the stories of our people.

It’s special to me that I have been witness to a cultural practice that not a lot of people do anymore.

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CS: What will you be painting on your tipi and why?

AC: We will be painting a dragonfly design. It was a big shock to hear that my grandfather was transferring this design to me. When you get a tipi you always have a home, no matter where you are or where you will be.

My mom, sister and I were given a tipi design when I was young –but it’s a big deal to have a tipi design of my own. Having a tipi of my own is considered a rite of passage in our culture. I will have the privilege of taking care of the design and passing it on to my children or whomever it belongs to next.

CS: Where will your tipi go once it is painted?

AC: Most people only see tipis set up during Stampede in Indian Village. They don’t understand that these are our homes traditionally. When we have family gatherings, or if we want to camp out we set up tipis. We live in them when we go to sacred ceremonies. We set them up whenever we can.

Tipi painting

CS: Has your experience as the Indian Princess impacted your life in the years that followed?

AC: Big time. My year as the Indian Princess still follows me around, which is a good thing. I feel really honoured to have been the Indian Princess during the Centennial. The experience taught me a lot about myself and gave me lots of confidence. Living as a First Nations woman in Calgary, I am able to educate others about my people, our culture and build positive relationships.

The public speaking experience, in particular, has been a huge asset in my job. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I was hired!

CS: And what are you up to these days?

AC: I’m the communications coordinator for the Alberta First Nations Governance Centre which is a First Nations data and research organization.

CS: Have you heard about the new Indian Village in ENMAX Park?

AC: Yes, I’m really excited to see it. I grew up in the Indian Village at the south end of the Park, so I was a little sad to see it move, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the new space.

The University of Calgary’s Campfire Chat is part of their 50th anniversary celebration this year. It is going to be a very special way to recognize and celebrate National Aboriginal Day. Below is a schedule of the day’s events. If you would like to attend the chat by Elder Reg Crowshoe, make sure you register on their website.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 1-8 p.m.

St. Patrick’s Island
1300 Zoo Road NE (access via 12 St. SE in Inglewood)
Rain or shine

AFTERNOON – Family-friendly event (come and go)

1 p.m. Triple tipi-raising
2 p.m. Tipi-painting demonstration
3 p.m. Traditional drumming and dancing supported by the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary

EVENING – RSVP required

6:30 p.m. Campfire chat with Reg Crowshoe, former chief of
Piikuni First Nation

 

10 things to see and do at Stampede 2016

Axe throwing, deep fried tequila shots, a 45-foot tall spinning ride, an international pavilion, a fire-lit tight-rope walker and a beautiful, new, 16-acre park are just a few of the new offerings to check out this Stampede. What’s your Stampede thing?

1. Ride the Stampede’s new ride

A new ride means a new opportunity for challenging yourself and your friends; Spin Out is a 45-foot tall rotating claw that spins you in every way imaginable – including spinning while you’re hanging upside down! For information on our other rides and ride packages, check out: http://www.calgarystampede.com/stampede/attractions/midway

Spin Out

Spin Out

 

2. Watch rescue dogs perform jaw-dropping tricks at the Dog Bowl

These rescue dogs and dogs adopted from shelters, of multiple sizes and breeds, prove that you can do anything you set your mind to, and overcome any obstacles in your way; watch as these dogs defy gravity through freestyle Frisbee disc, flyball racing and high jumping agility demonstrations. Be sure to stay until the end of the show for the exhilarating dock diving act. Canine Stars will motivate you to go home and train your pooch a new trick or two.

The Dog Bowl will feature six shows daily with room for more than 2,000 dog lovers per show. Daily shows are at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. In addition, on Suncor Family Day and BMO Kids’ Day, the first show will be at 10:30 a.m. Sneak-A-Peek on Thursday, July 7 will feature two shows at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Canine Stars

Canine Stars

 

3. Relax by the river in Indian Village’s new home in the brand new ENMAX Park

Stampede Park’s newest green space, a beautiful inner city public park and gathering space, is the new home to Indian Village presented by Penn West. Located by the MacDonald Entry, and across the bridge from Kids’ Midway, you can experience a number of activities at Indian Village including daily dance demonstrations and  tipi raising competitions, cooking demonstrations over a an open fire, and traditional arts and crafts created by Treaty 7 artisans. Don’t forget that the Bannok Booth has also moved with Indian Village to ENMAX Park so be sure to grab some doughy goodness and relax and enjoy it on the lush green grass.

Indian Village’s first event, the Opening Ceremonies and Camp Moving Ceremony on Friday, July 8, the first day of the 2016 Calgary Stampede.

Indian Village has moved to beautiful ENMAX Park!

Indian Village has moved to beautiful ENMAX Park!

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Meet Allison Healy, Tipi Owner from the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation)

This year, Indian Village moves to ENMAX Park. The 26 tipis represent the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. Each tipi has a unique design on the outside. Approximately 500 people will live in Indian Village during the 10 days, with daily performances adding another 1,000 people per day. More than 40 competitions and events take place in Indian Village during the July Stampede.

In part two of a five part series, we speak with a tipi owner from each of the five tribes of Treaty 7. Today’s blog post is a chat with Allison Healy of Kainai Nation.

After celebrating their 30th year at Indian Village presented by PennWest last summer, the Healy family will once again set up their tipi, adorned with yellow and green paint featuring a water serpent, along with elk and deer. In what started through a family connection, Allison Healy and her family are regulars and very involved.

Allison’s late husband, Earl, started helping at Indian Village in the early 1980s. Once an opening for a new tipi owner came up, Earl and the Healys took it.

“We had a relative who was one of the tipi owners so my husband helped with set up… for a couple of years,” Allison Healy said. “My husband wanted to be a tipi holder and start camping there. This was after our relative had quit so he took over.” Continue reading

Meet Noran Calf Robe, Indian Village Tipi Owner from Siksika Nation

This year, Indian Village moves to ENMAX Park. The 26 tipis represent the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. Each tipi has a unique design on the outside. Approximately 500 people will live in Indian Village during the 10 days, with daily performances adding another 1,000 people per day. More than 40 competitions and events take place in Indian Village during the July Stampede.

We caught up with tipi owner Noran Calf Robe whose family has been attending the Calgary Stampede for more than 100 years.

Visitors to Indian Village may recognize recurring tipis and owners year-after-year. The tipi painted with a buffalo belongs to the Calf Robes and has been a part of the Calgary Stampede from the beginning. Continue reading

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess spreads western hospitality in Australia

The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess joined the Calgary Stampede and Travel Alberta for Destination Canada’s 2016 Canada Corroboree in Australian cities Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney. The Corroboree is a major tourism roadshow that informs travel agents, tour operators, wholesalers and media about all the incredible things Canada has to offer. Here are some of Vanessa’s favourite memories from Down Under.

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My Inspiration

Throughout the past month, I’ve travelled and met some wonderful people. I was able to attend Grey Cup in Winnipeg and it’s an experience I will never forget. I rode in my first parade on a horse, brought a little western hospitality to St. Gerard School, and served some delicious pancakes with the Calgary Grey Cup Committee. I also bonded with my Royalty sisters, who are by the way the best AC/DC singers you’ll ever meet. There wasn’t a time where we weren’t all laughing or making everyone around us smile. I had a moment where I was feeling down and they unexpectly came up to me and just gave me a big hug, then made me laugh. They’ve become my family away from home, while I continue this journey as the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. For that, I’m so thankful – Maggie, Chelsey, and Bailie this is going to be a year we will never forget and I’m happy I get to share it with you lovely ladies.

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2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess

Oki, my name is i’kiwayohtowa and means “Heard All Over” which comes from the sound of thunder or you can call me Vanessa Stiffarm and I am the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. I come from the Kainai Nation and was raised by my parents, Evelyn Killsback and John Stiffarm, and my grandparents, Roger and Cathy Hunt.

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After looking back this past month since I’ve been crowned, it brings an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness. It’s an incredible honor to carry this title and represent not just Kainai but all of Treaty 7, the Indian Village, and the Calgary Stampede. I’ve met a few of the past princess’s and look up to them. The stories they have shared with me about their experience and how holding this title opened doors for all of them. I want to inspire others the way they have inspired me to try my best and educate others about my culture.

Even though a month has gone by, I can still remember that feeling of standing on that stage waiting for my name to be called. When the judges finally called my name to announce I was this year’s Indian Princess, I cried. And I cried more when my grandparents came on stage to sing me an honor song. I cannot thank my family enough for their support and guidance that has led me to this moment. I am truly blessed and humbled to have this opportunity and to share it with everyone I will meet. I want to thank everyone for the kind words, the positive feedback, and for continuing to support me. This is only the beginning and I can’t wait to share my journey as we get closer to the 2016 Calgary Stampede.

Apply to be the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess- Four days left!

There are FOUR DAYS left to get your application in for the 2015 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess pageant!! You can find the application online here. On my Facebook page, I’ve been counting down 10 reasons to apply for Indian Princess. Here’s number eight:

CULTURAL REPRESENTATION

This was the main part of my role as the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess and I’m so honored to do the things that I did as a young Treaty 7 and Blackfoot woman. I traveled and danced at the harbor in Toronto, for crowds in Regina, overseas in Germany, and at nearly every local event we visited. Most events, some people have never met a first nations person or seen a pow wow dancer before. Afterwards, people would come up to me and ask me numerous questions about where I’m from and of the background of my culture and dance. Dancing and introducing myself in Blackfoot filled me with so much pride–I’d try to take it all in so I could remember those moments forever.

Carly Indian Princess

I’d also be the only First Nations at most events, so I took my role seriously and I’d try to represent myself to my best potential. With that, I would ask my parents or other relatives and elders about our language, culture, and history. I learned so much. I took it upon myself to study as much Treaty 7 information, Blackfoot words, and First Nations history as possible so I could answer questions honestly and confidently in the public eye. With that, my appreciation for who I am and where I come from has grown tremendously. I always had a deep love for my culture, but now I want to want to dance as much as I can, travel to different pow wows, become more fluent in Blackfoot, and study my history for the rest of my life so I can pass it on to younger generations.

People ask me about the things that I receive throughout my reign, which I all greatly appreciate. However, getting the chance to represent my First Nations/Blackfoot culture, Treaty 7, Siksika, the Calgary Stampede Indian Village and the Calgary Stampede in 2014 is one of the greatest gifts I could have ever asked for.