By Paula E. Kirman
K-Days is an annual festival associated with carnival games, fun rides, shows and exhibits, and lots of food. In the past couple of years, K-Days has also become associated with Indigenous culture, having incorporated a powwow and the Miss Indigenous Princess Pageant. The pageant is part of the partnership between Northlands (the organizers of K-Days) and representatives of Treaty Six and intended to showcase and embrace Indigenous culture.
The Miss Indigenous Princess Pageant provides an ambassador for Northlands to build relationships within the community, through appearances at Northlands events throughout the year, such as the Canadian Derby, Canadian Finals Rodeo, and Farmfair International.
“It's an opportunity to share their culture and with the greater Edmonton area, with those who come to Northlands' programming. It's a great opportunity to be an ambassador for the Indigenous community as well as have some new experiences,” says Lori Cote, public relations manager for Northlands.
Brittney Pastion was crowned the winner of the Northlands Indigenous Princess Pageant in 2016. Pastion, 22, is from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and is also half Dené Tha and one quarter Cree.
She is a graduate of NAIT's Television program and is working towards a career in the broadcasting industry, having already worked for CTV News and REDx Talks.
“Brittney was one of a number who came forward and put in the application. What really shone through was her passion for her culture, not only in her application but throughout the process,” said Cote.
Pastion, who also goes by her spirit name, Beautiful Singing Earth Morning Star Woman, was not available to be interviewed by Windspeaker.com because of her busy schedule, and was at the Calgary Stampede at the time of our deadline.
“She attends a variety of events for Northlands throughout the year,” Cote explained. “She sang the national anthem at a number of our events, and she has attended a number of powwows on behalf of Northlands, as well as the Gathering of Nations Powwow in New Mexico. She's been able to travel across Canada and down into the United States as our representative.”
Cote encourages young Indigenous women to apply to be the next Miss Indigenous Princess.
“It's an opportunity not only to be an ambassador for their culture but to build on their personal communication skills through the teaching and sharing of traditions.”
The application process includes a written component, while the pageant event happens during the K-Days Powwow. There is still time to apply for 2017. The deadline is July 19. Find out more about this opportunity at http://k-days.com/northlands-indigenous-princess-pageant/