“Oki [hello]. I am from the Land of the Blood Tribe-Blackfoot Confederacy. It is a real privilege to have a Blood Tribe member on the cover of Canadian Geographic! May the Wilderness Angels be with you always and forever.”
That message came from Ang Fox, a reader and member of the same First Nation as Eugene Brave Rock, who appears in his traditional regalia on the winning cover of the July/August edition (each issue, Can Geo holds a cover vote to solicit feedback from our followers). The cover story explores the history of Indigenous peoples’ involvement in the Calgary Stampede, how their roles and cultural showcases are developing with each year. Brave Rock and the other two cover-option subjects, Clayton Cardinal, of the Cree Nation, and Harland Smalleyes, representing the Stoney-Nakoda and Siksika nations, all received their share of votes and fan mail — many from people in these young men’s own communities, but also from others who have been touched by their efforts to share their heritage, inspire new generations and educate a wider audience — but Brave Rock won the day with a commanding 43 per cent of the vote.
Perhaps it had to do with the extra star power he brings. Born and raised in the Kainai (Blood) First Nation of southern Alberta, Brave Rock takes part in Indigenous celebrations at the Stampede and other heritage events across the West, but he is also a prominent actor, recently appearing in Wonder Woman as Napi (an undercover Blackfoot demigod). Another voter explained their choice this way: “Mr. Brave Rock has helped people like me, whose heritage is buried, have a hero and representation on the big screen.”
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