Miss FNUniv: Handing over the reigns
- Bee Bird | May 30, 2022
The longest-serving Miss First Nations University of Canada Kaleigh Starblanket is looking forward to ending her reign and handing over the title to a new recipient this weekend.
Each year, during the spring powwow a new princess is chosen for a one-year term to fulfill a very specific job.
“As an ambassador, our responsibility is to represent the powwow and promote the annual celebration,” said Starblanket.
Shortly before her 20th birthday, she was selected during the 2019 FNUniv spring powwow. Then, a month before her reign was to end, the world was hit with a global pandemic. Like every public event in 2020, the FNUniv powwow was cancelled and then again last year.
While the event was on hold, Starblanket was asked to keep the title until the powwow returned.
Starblanket, now 23, said she loved the challenges that came along with being Miss FNUniv. and says she has grown over the past three years.
“This responsibility helped me face my fears and helped me to better myself,” said Starblanket.
Being a powwow princess, does have its perks.
“I love meeting all the other representatives at the other powwows,” said Starblanket who travels throughout Canada and the United States every summer.
She said the best part of the experience was interacting with young people many of whom would reach out to her and tell her she was a role model and she inspired them.
“My parents instilled in me to always put my best foot forward,” said Starblanket. “So hearing that (from the younger generation) really made me happy and inspired me to carry the title in a good way.”
Like many, she is looking forward to the weekend event.
“It's going to be fun seeing all my old friends and powwow dancers,” she said.
In addition to ending her reign, Starblanket is also preparing to wrap up her Bachelor of Business Administration this summer.
“This year, (Starblanket) has the honour of hosting the women's traditional special as the outgoing princess right after the grand entry on Saturday June 4th,” said Bonnie Rockthunder, co-chair of the FNUniv powwow committee.
Miss FNUniv will be crowned on Sunday. The deadline to enter is by 4:30 p.m. on May 31. To qualify one must be female, between the ages of 17 and 30, a powwow dancer, enrolled in high school with at least a 65 per cent grade point average or enrolled in any of the FNUniv campuses and be drug and alcohol free.
Participants will be judged on their essay, interview questions, public speaking and a dance competition.
As the outgoing princess, Starblanket has some words of advice for her successor.
“Always be proud of who you are as a person,” she said. “Be proud of being connected to your culture. Be proud of your community. Be proud of being a post secondary student. These are all characteristics of not only being a great role model, but also being a wonderful ambassador of the First Nations University of Canada.”
Rockthunder is also looking forward to the event, which she said would not be possible without volunteers and corporate sponsors.
The annual FNUniv spring powwow will be held June 4-5 in the Brandt Centre at Evraz Place, which is located at 1700 Elphinstone St. The doors open at 10 a.m with the grand entry at 12 pm and again at 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is $10 per day or $15 for the Weekend pass. Passes can be purchased at the University and also at Cree Land Mini Mart in Regina until Wednesday.