June 22nd, 2024

Miss World Canada shares experiences with local students as first Indigenous winner in 72 years

By Samantha Johnson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 2, 2023.

2022 Miss World Canada Emma Morrison leads the students at Dr. Ken Sauer School in some movement exercises.--NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON


This week at schools within the Medicine Hat Public School Division, 2022 Miss World Canada Emma Morrison has been speaking to students as part of the division’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit speaker’s series.

Since winning the crown last November, Morrison has spoken at approximately 20 schools and hopes to visit more.

“It’s been so much fun, I’ve been able to go to schools and share my message. That is something I really enjoy doing and something I was able to focus on throughout my year. I’ve been to the East Coast and Quebec and now here I am out West, and it’s been incredible,” said Morrison.

Currently, pageants are her whole life, although she graduated from hair styling and esthetics before competing last year, and hopes to return to that industry in the future. Even after she is no longer competing in pageants, there are many doors of opportunity available, such as coaching or being involved with pageants on other levels.

“I was the first Indigenous woman to win Miss World Canada in 72 years,” Morrison said. “Coming from Chapleau Creek First Nation, it was not only for myself but for others, too. I really wanted to open that door for other Indigenous girls who are coming from a small, remote reserve community and to show through passion and drive there is nothing you can’t achieve.

“For me, it was pageantry but for you it could be anything. I know it’s not about being the first, but it’s knowing you won’t be the last. I hope that throughout my reign I can go to these schools and plant those seeds of hope and passion where maybe one day I’ll crown another Indigenous Miss World Canada.”

Her best experience so far happened this past May when Morrison took the opportunity to coach another Indigenous young woman for the Miss Northern Ontario pageant.

“She reminded me a lot of myself. She was 15 and competing at this pageant where there are 24-year-olds competing at the same event. I remember being in that position,” explained Morrison. “We spent four months preparing and the best thing that came out of my pageant career is helping her win. That was my highlight so far, and I did it completely for free.”

Students at Dr. Ken Sauer School were excited when Morrison allowed them to hold her crown and got down on the floor to sit with them. After watching the news broadcast that announced her winning the title, Morrison got all the kids standing for some movement.

Throughout her talk, she continued to engage with the students, asking questions and allowing them to guess the answers. She explained to them she played lots of basketball while growing up and when the opportunity arrived to compete in the first pageant at 16, she initially didn’t think it was for her. However, doing something completely outside her life experience at that point has changed her life in many positive ways and she encouraged the children to believe in themselves and their dreams.

FMNI co-ordinator for MHPSD Darrell Willier initially reached out to Morrison by Facebook to ask her if she would be interested in coming to Medicine Hat.

“It’s great to have guest speakers of this magnitude coming to our schools for the students to hear (their message). As I was telling Emma this morning, when I look back on the presenters I’ve had here in Medicine Hat as well as when I was up in Grande Prairie, it’s amazing. It’s really good for students and staff to hear the success stories and to inspire and plant that seed of hope.

“When we have people like Emma Morrison coming to Medicine Hat schools, I think that’s a great opportunity for all of us to savour the moment.”

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