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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meet 2017 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Savanna Sparvier

Stampede Indian Princess All Around Snake Woman
Chris Davis - 2017 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Savanna Marie Adele Sparvier was a guest at a recent Piikani Youth Rodeo event. Sparvier is 20 years old and is from Siksiká Nation. Her role for the Stampede is to act as an ambassador for the five tribes of Treaty 7 First Nations (Bearspaw, Chiniki, Blood, Piikani, Siksiká, Tsuu T'ina, and Wesley First Nations), the Indian Village on the Stampede grounds, and the Stampede itself. She also serves as a role model for First Nations youth. During her reign as Stampede Princess she will make hundreds of appearances in Alberta, nationally, and internationally.

Her traditional name means "All Around Snake Woman", which she said originated with her great great grandmother, Jenny Duck Chief, who was the last traditional Chief of Siksika. Sparvier told me the origin story of her name. Duck Chief had been killing snakes in a rural area as the children were afraid of the snakes. "In the dream a huge mother snake spoke to her in Blackfoot, and basically told her 'All the snakes you killed on the way to the river those were actually my children, and if you kill any more snakes, you are going to have the exact same result to your children as the snakes that you killed." Sparvier said her middle names are taken from her grandmothers, one of whom also carried the All Around Snake Woman name. "It is a way of keeping me close to the two woman who meant the world to me."

To become 2017 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Sparvier participated in a month-long competition. "We were judged on our speaking abilities, one on one as well speeches."

"I represent the Nations of Treaty Seven. My role throughout the year is to inform people about the Calgary Stampede, Calgary, the Rodeo, the Roundup Centre... all about the Stampede. I do a lot of what the Stampede Queen and Princesses do. Except apart from them I also talk about the proud Nations of Treaty 7. The traditions and values we still follow in each of the nations."

"It has cultural aspects to it. It means the world to me. The Blackfoot language is a dying language, sad to say. So we have to try to keep with our traditions and values. Sooner or later, we will lose our language, and the only thing we will have left is traditions and values, that we were taught through each and every age. So it means a lot to be able to share with people the Nation that I come from, The culture I grew up with, the values come with that culture."

Sparvier said she was in Brocket partly to visit family. "My little sister and my little brother are actually from here, so I come down a lot to visit with them. I am pretty familiar with this area."

Sparvier said she took Blackfoot Studies at Strathmore High School in grade 10 "It was great going to a non-native school and finding out they had programs to offer to aboriginal students"."She said the school recently did a play called 'New Blood'. "It was a story on Chief Vincent Yellow Woman's life in residential school and the after effects of residential school." Sparvier appeared in a performance of the play at the Glenbow Museum on June 3, as a dancer. She is a Ladies Traditional and Fancy Shawl dancer. She hopes to go into the Aboriginal Program in the University of Calgary. She is also interest in Educational programming studies. She sees herself teaching English and Drama in the future.

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