By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Katari Right Hand, who is featured on the Calgary Stampede’s 2021 poster, has also been selected to lead the official parade as its marshal.
According to her grandfather, Mitch Right Hand, the 17-year-old fancy dancer has been showcasing her talent and her culture with the Calgary Stampede since she was a young girl.
“She rides in the parade every year, but she always rides on a float. This year will be a little different for her; she gets to ride on a horse right in the front. She’s very excited and honoured to do this,” said Mitch. “She’s always happy to dance. Wherever she’s asked to dance, she’ll go. Sometimes it’ll be downtown … sometimes she’ll be on a caravan, sometimes it’ll be on the Elbow River camp stage, or sometimes she’ll be at the grandstand.”
Katari had been requested by artist Lexi Hilderman, who wanted to capture her likeness to submit to the Stampede’s 2021 poster contest.
Roughly a week following the announcement that Hilderman’s submission was to become the Stampede’s official poster, Katari was contacted again by Calgary Stampede officials to meet with them for further discussion— specifically to request that Katari be the 2021 parade marshal.
“We were shocked that she was chosen to be on the 2021 poster. I thought that was as far as it would go,” said Mitch. “It’s a great honour for my granddaughter to be the poster girl. I’m really proud that she accepted and it’s really overwhelming right now.
“It’s hard to put into words how we feel right now. We’re very excited for her, for the family and for the nation. She’s not only doing this for herself or the family, she is doing this for all the native people – for everyone.”
Mitch added that involvement with the Calgary Stampede runs in the family, as Katari’s great, great grandfather, Chief Leo Pretty Youngman, marshalled the stampede in 1977 along with the other Treaty 7 chiefs, and Prince Charles.
According to Mitch, the same year, Katari’s great, great uncle, Raymond Crowchief, was portrayed on the official poster.
Katari said she feels like she’s living up to a legacy, having been selected to lead the Calgary Stampede.
“I feel proud because I think that maybe he would know one of his great, great grandchildren would be a parade marshal like him. He’s looking down on me,” she said.
Katari will lead the parade as it moves along its new route around Stampede Park on July 9.
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Strathmore Times