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These two young women were selected from a field of eight contestants. Event coordinators Calinda Duquette and Daryle Gardipy said that the contestants were subject to strict criteria. The young women had to be between the ages of 17 and 24; single with no dependents; lead alcohol and drug free lifestyles; be powwow dancers; and have knowledge of their tribal traditions. Considering the criteria,Duquette said, "We were very pleased with the number of contestants."
|Stephanie Redman and Carla Omani will both represent the FSIN in an official capacity throughout their lives.|
|Carla Omani, FSIN Princess||Stephanie Redman, FSIN Princess|
The traditional aspect of the competition was the dance and regalia. Another, smaller, portion was dedicated to ticket sales.
Carla Omani entered the pageant on the advice of family and friends. She is a Fancy Shawl dancer and started dancing at a young age. After a break, Carla began dancing again in 1992.
In addition to her dancing, she is involved in a number of school activities, among them the Multicultural Action Committee. The group works to raise awareness of other cultures, particularly for the Aboriginal students.
First Nations culture is important to Carla. "It's a big part of my life and it's always going to be there," she says. She believes in the value of learning traditional ways from Elders and family.
When Carla speaks to youth, she tells them to try to live their dreams to the fullest. She also encourages youth to stay in school.
Education is tremendously valuable to Carla. She is graduating from Carlton Comprehensive High School this year. She is planning on applying to SUNTEP and completing a Bachelor of Education. She plans on becoming a teacher.
Since being crowned in February, Carla has attended the Saskatchewan Indian Winter Games and a number of Round Dances. She is looking forward to further experiences that will result from her title.
Stephanie Redman also entered the pageant after being coaxed by a friend.
Since receiving her crown in November, Stephanie has represented the FSIN in Toronto at the First Nations Bank of Canada launching. She also attended a youth conference in Halifax that was dedicated to mental health.
Currently, she spends a lot of time giving presentations to students in Regina. She tells the students not to set one major goal but a series of smaller ones. Completing each goal provides motivation and self-confidence to continue working to meet the rest.
Stephanie promotes the importance of learning and maintaining culture, no matter where the students are from. But, she also tells them to keep a balance between athletics, academics and culture. She does this on a personal level to maintain her happiness.
Stephanie has been a Ladies Traditional dancer since she was old enough to walk. "It's always been a part of my life," she says. However, she says that her parents always stressed that school had to come before attending powwows.
As a result, academics are a priority with Stephanie. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and Indian Health Studies at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College this year. She plans on pursuing a career in medicine.
Stephanie Redman and Carla Omani will both represent the FSIN in an official capacity throughout their lives. Look for the FSIN 50th Anniversary Princesses on the powwow trail this summer.