Not ev­ery­one gets to be roy­alty

‘My ni­tap’s daugh­ter was a Mi’kmaw princess’

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - Adam Gould Mem­berNews Adam Gould is a proud res­i­dent of Mem­ber­tou and cur­rently en­joy­ing some va­ca­tion time. While re­lax­ing, he con­tin­ues to bring you ex­cit­ing grass­roots sto­ries from the com­mu­nity. Please feel free to email him at adamegould@gmail.com at

I must open this edi­tion of Mem­berNews with some L’nu hu­mour. As Mi’kmaw peo­ple, we have all heard this clas­sic line and story:

“My great-great-great-great­great grand­mother was a ‘Mic Mac’ princess.”

We have all heard it, at least once. I have ac­tu­ally heard it nu­mer­ous times, from nu­mer­ous sources, and each telling had its own unique set of de­tails. How­ever, the gist is that it seems that ev­ery­one is the de­scen­dant of a “Mic Mac” princess.

This line has taken on a life of its own, and has set­tled in the hu­mor­ous lore of our cul­ture. It’s a ro­man­ti­cized idea, but it is some­thing that is not sup­ported by his­tor­i­cal ev­i­dence. Re­gard­less, we still en­joy hear­ing these sto­ries from oth­ers, and mak­ing light-hearted jokes about it.

Jokes aside, this month’s fo­cus is on ac­tual princesses – Mem­ber­tou’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the 2017 Nova Sco­tia Mi’kmaw Sum­mer Games, or NSMSG17.

The Sum­mer Games Pageant has been one of our tra­di­tions for decades now, and is the crown jewel of our an­nual gath­er­ing, fig­u­ra­tively and lit­er­ally. Over two evenings, the princesses vie for the ti­tle of Sum­mer Games Queen.

Rep­re­sent­ing their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties, these dy­namic young ladies share their per­sonal thoughts, an­swer some very deep ques­tions, demon­strate their in­di­vid­ual tal­ents, and show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion and sup­port for each other. I cov­ered last year’s pageant when Mem­ber­tou hosted the games, and was filled with a great sense of ad­mi­ra­tion for each and ev­ery par­tic­i­pant.

The reign­ing Sum­mer Games Queen is Mem­ber­tou’s very own Salena Sylvester, a re­cent grad­u­ate of Syd­ney Academy. In just over a week, Salena will pass on the crown to a new queen.

Lead­ing up to NSMSG17, com­mu­ni­ties host their own princess pageants, with the win­ner and run­ner up ad­vanc­ing to the big show.

Mem­ber­tou’s Princess Pageant was held on a warm Sun­day af­ter­noon in July, and fea­tured the em­cee­ing de­but of the fab­u­lous Koty Stevens. You may have seen Koty in TV com­mer­cials for this week­end’s Grand Pre fes­ti­val.

Our judges for the af­ter­noon were Jus­tine Paul, Joan Paul, and Sgt. Gra­ham Smith. All con­tes­tants were cheered on by fam­ily mem­bers, friends and sup­port­ers.

Be­fore con­tin­u­ing, I must take a mo­ment to thank Lind­say Sylvester and Ash­ley Stevens for co­or­di­nat­ing the pageant, as they also did the pre­vi­ous year. Also, a spe­cial thanks to Mar­cella Mar­shall for her work on the princesses’ sashes, and An­drea Den­nis, who hand-beaded the crown from scratch.

One by one, Koty wel­comed the five young ladies to the stage, Lyric Christ­mas, 18; Meadow Christ­mas, 16; Faith Fran­cis, 16; Re­nay Ka­batay, 18 and Tanaya Paul, 17.

Tanaya also par­tic­i­pated in the pre­vi­ous year’s pageant, and would rep­re­sent Mem­ber­tou at NSMSG16. Could she do it again?

The princesses opened up their souls on stage, shar­ing some very thought­ful words with us. Top­ics ranged from bul­ly­ing to youth sui­cide, miss­ing and mur­dered In­dige­nous women to lan­guage and cul­tural preser­va­tion.

Not only are these young ladies in­spi­ra­tional, they’re also very tal­ented. Meadow, Lyric and Faith shared their pub­lic speak­ing skills, and did so like pro­fes­sion­als. Next was Re­nay, a jin­gle-dress dancer who comes from the leg­endary Ka­batay fam­ily of per­form­ers. Tanaya then left the crowd as­tounded with her singing of An­dra Day’s “Rise Up.”

Re­nay was se­lected as Miss Tal­ent, and Tanaya by her peers as Miss Friend­ship. Meadow Christ­mas was an­nounced as the sec­ond run­ner-up to the crowd’s de­light.

Cas­sidy LaPorte, Miss Mem­ber­tou 2016, with the 2017 crown in hand, awaited the big an­nounce­ment.

Miss Mem­ber­tou 2017 is Re­nay Ka­batay, and Tanaya Paul was our first run­ner-up. They would im­me­di­ately em­brace with a warm hug, in a beau­ti­ful dis­play of friend­ship and mu­tual ad­mi­ra­tion.

Both Re­nay and Tanaya will rep­re­sent Mem­ber­tou at next week’s Nova Sco­tia Mi’kmaw Sum­mer

Games Queen Pagean in Wag­mat­cook. I am very con­fi­dent to say that Mem­ber­tou will have backto-back Sum­mer Games Queens.

Re­gard­less of who wears the crown, these ma­jes­tic youth are all fit for roy­alty.

Best of luck to Re­nay and Tanaya, and thank you and con­grat­u­la­tions to Faith, Lyric and Meadow.

Now we can all say that you knew a real Mi’kmaw princess.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTOS/ADAM GOULD

This is the hard­work­ing crew who brought us the Miss Mem­ber­tou 2017 pageant. From left to right are, Koty Stevens, Lind­say Sylvester with daugh­ter Isla, Lyric Christ­mas, Tanaya Paul, Miss Mem­ber­tou 2017 Re­nay Ka­batay, Meadow Christ­mas, Faith Fran­cis, Cas­sidy LaPorte, Miss Mem­ber­tou 2016, and Ash­ley Stevens

The new Miss Mem­ber­tou Re­nay Ka­batay poses with MC Koty Stevens.

RIGHT: The judges in­clud­ing Jus­tine Paul, Sgt. Gra­ham Smith and Joan Paul watch as par­tic­i­pants go through their paces.

An­drea Den­nis hand­crafted the beaded crown for Miss Mem­ber­tou. She is a tal­ented beader.

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