Alayiah Wolf Child hopes to inspire Indigenous children to be comfortable in who they are and pursue their dreams as she takes on the role of Calgary Stampede’s 2023 First Nations Princess.
The Stampede crowned Wolf Child as its next First Nations princess during a Sunday afternoon event at Stampede Park. But the 24-year-old said her victory didn’t set in until she woke up Monday morning and saw the beadwork of the First Nations princess crown.
“During the round dance – after I was crowned we did this friendship dance – I just remember looking around and thinking that this is my new family now and it’s a historic moment for me. I just kept thinking, ‘is this really happening?’ ” Wolf Child said Monday.
The First Nations princess is a member of Treaty 7 First Nations and serves as the Elbow River Camp Ambassador at the Stampede. This was Wolf Child’s third attempt at the crown.
Wolf Child, a member of Siksika First Nation, said she didn’t know what to expect in her first year trying for the title, but she kept working toward her goal. Her Blackfoot name, Massamahkoyinnimaki, roughly translates to Long Time Thunder Pipe Woman.
“I went to the schools around Siksika to teach them about the Blackfoot creation stories of how the Blackfoot people came to be,” she said.
“I hope to inspire all these young people to step outside their comfort zones and chase all their wildest dreams.”
With experience in traditional and jingle dance at the Elbow River Camp, Wolf Child said she hopes to teach people from around the world about Native and Blackfoot culture.
“I learned how Guy Weadick envisioned the dream of the Calgary Stampede as this huge, annual, greatest outdoor show on earth, but I don’t think he could have imagined how amazing it would be and how visitors would come to experience western and native culture. from all over the world,” she said of the man who founded the Calgary Stampede more than 100 years ago.
Sarah Lambros was named the 2023 Calgary Stampede Princess earlier this month. The two princesses will begin their reigns on January 1, taking over from the 2022 royals.