Traveling the world to represent Treaty 7 and the Calgary Stampede was a life-changing experience for Astokomii Smith. The former 2019 Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess is now the Town of Strathmore’s Indigenous Liaison and a role model for other youth in the community.
We spoke to Smith about how being the First Nations princess changed her life for the better.
“Being the First Nation Princess of the Calgary Stampede has given me so many life-changing opportunities, some of which I probably never would have had if it wasn’t for this role,” Smith said. .
“The idea of representing Treaty 7 and the Calgary Stampede locally and nationally has definitely been a highlight for me,” she said. “I was blessed with many life skills that would benefit me throughout my life, such as public speaking, interpersonal skills, etiquette, horseback riding and more, not to mention all of them. the many lifelong friends that have been made along the way.”
It’s been a few years now since she was crowned, but Smith says she stays in touch with many people she’s met along the way, “I’ve been really grateful and thankful for everything.”
Being the First Nations princes also gave him the opportunity to travel abroad. “The Princess usually goes to around 400 events a year, some of which are world class. I was lucky during my reign to have the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas, Australia and Paris. I shared my culture, western hospitality and what visitors could expect to see at Elbow River Camp, as well as danced in front of the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower,” she said. “These are moments that I will always cherish and it definitely opened my eyes because there is so much to see in the world.”
When asked how the experience impacted her public speaking work, Smith explained: ‘When I ran for the First Nations Princess, I had many goals that I wanted achieve in this role, but for me the most important thing was to show young girls that even if they face mental struggles such as anxiety, or are seen as shy and quiet, they could still do great things – like being a Stampede princess.”
“Before I was crowned, anyone could tell you how quiet I was and that the idea of public speaking was something I never really wanted to do. anxiety so I was very surprised when they called my name for the title Calgary Stampede helped me with public speaking and media practice I was out of my comfort zone countless times when I was asked to speak at an event, but I’m grateful for each of those times because it helped me in the long run,” Smith said.
Today, Smith plays a very public role in the Strathmore and Blackfoot community as the Town of Strathmore First Nations Liaison. When asked about her career in public service, she replied, “In my role working for the city, I have also had many life-changing opportunities and I have had great relationships.I actually think working for the city helped me when I ran for the Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess because I was already learning interpersonal skills, teaching my culture and Engaging with the community For me, this is a very rewarding position, knowing that I am helping my community.