Manitoba models share hopes for Miss Indigenous Canada pageant during Manito Ahbee festival

On the second day of the Manito Ahbee Festival at the Assiniboia Downs, CityNews reporter Joanne Roberts speaks to runway models Ocean Bruyere and Lexie Joos about their hopes for Miss Indigenous Canada.

Hundreds braved the cold and rain Saturday for the second day of Manito Ahbee, an event that celebrates Indigenous arts, culture and music in Winnipeg.

Dancers in full regalia took part in a day of movement, energy, and competition.

The day began with a Powwow Pitch at 10 a.m., then a grand entry at noon featuring local and international dancers – some coming from as far as Australia.

Outside of the exhibition stage, hundreds more took in Indigenous arts (beading, clothes, etc.) and food.

Over at the Red Road runway, models were to take part in a cultural clothing show Saturday evening, including two women from Manitoba who will be representing the province in the first-ever Miss Indigenous Canada pageant this summer.

“This is my first time being here so it’s really exciting,” model Lexie Joos said.

Joos, originally from Nelson House, says more positive influences of Indigenous culture are needed for young people.

“I just want to inspire them and be the role model to show them that you can do bigger things and there’s opportunities out there no matter where you come from and who you are,” she said. “There’s always opportunities for you.”

Lexie Joos says she wants to be a positive role model for the Indigenous community. (Submitted by: Lexie Joos)

Model Ocean Bruyere hopes her presence on the runway – both at Manito Ahbee and Miss Indigenous Canada in July – shows others that beauty isn’t just skin deep.

“I think a lot of it has to do with loving yourself,” she said. “Learning that self-love and nurturing that inner light within you. Over my years, learning about the culture and learning about my identity, getting clear on my values and my beliefs and nurturing myself was about nurturing that fire within.

“You can do scary things. Like, this is scary. And it’s exciting at the same time.”

Ocean Bruyere says beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and goes much further than skin-deep. (Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

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