As she waited in the rotunda listening to the other contestants answer questions on the field at the November Miss World Pageant.
Morrison told Windspeaker.com: “I remember holding it and talking to the Creator and saying ‘I surrender to whatever He has planned for me and whatever is meant to be will happen’. She would be crowned Miss World Canada that night, becoming the first Indigenous woman to hold the title.
The 22-year-old grew up in Chapleau Cree First Nation, Ont., and competed in her first pageant, Miss North Ontario, when she was 16. She then moved on to Miss Teenage Canada at age 17, which she open the door for him the newest crown.
In the years since his last competition, Morrison has been busy attending high school and recently graduated from a private hairdressing school.
Part of the competition for Miss World Canada is that the contestants must present their platform for Beauty With a Project.
This is something that Morrison has been working on for a while before deciding to compete in the competition.
“This initiative started (for me) after we found 215 unmarked graves at a Kamloops residential school. Those events really lit a fire in me and inspired me to reconnect with my culture,” he explains.
“This is when I started sewing ribbon skirts for myself and the Native women to wear. I started the mission specifically because indigenous women are 12 times higher than the national average to become victims of homicide. The ribbon skirts I made are very important because they allow Indigenous women to feel their power and reclaim their power while they wear a traditional dress and make their clothes skin through this. “
To get started, Morrison said she started watching Tik Toks on how to make skirts and then went to buy a sewing machine for $100 in Canada.
Since then, he has made more than 23 ribbon skirts for various women, girls and groups.
“It’s therapeutic for me and it makes me feel connected to my culture as a Cree woman, so I enjoy the whole process,” she said, adding that it can take anywhere from three to 10 hours to complete a skirt. .
This personal initiative of hers, titled “Connecting Through Ribbon Skirts”, developed into her main foundation for the Miss World Canada initiative where she won first place in the Beauty With a Purpose category of the pageant.
“Everything just lined up the way it should. This is what I was already doing… It was already a big part of my life. “
Morrison’s mentor, Ashley Callingbull-Rabbit, a former Miss Universe, explained how Morrison’s hard work and commitment to raising awareness about Indigenous issues was a big reason why she volunteered her time to work with him.
“That’s the biggest reason I want to work with Emma, is she means what she says and she does the job right,” said Callingbull-Rabbit.
“I want to work with girls who are passionate about their platforms and how they can give back to their communities. Emma, you’ve been working on all these things for a long time and you have that personality and that drive to really push yourself and you do it for all the right reasons. “
Callingbull-Rabbit, originally from the Enoku Cree Nation in Alberta, has been in the modeling business for many years and became, in 2015, the first Canadian and Indigenous person to win Ms. Universe. She was recently the first Indigenous woman to be featured in a Swimsuit Sports Illustrated.
For many years, she has been a support for indigenous women who want to get a foot in the door of the page and said that her experiences are there to share with others to offer guidance through their journey.
“When I joined the entertainment community, I was the only Indigenous woman competing with them. There was no one there to pave the way for me or tell me what to expect or how to deal with situations. Even as Indigenous women we deal with a lot of negativity, racism and we don’t feel welcome in those spaces,” she said.
Callingbull-Rabbit advises women from Canada and the United States on everything from what to wear and recruiting sponsors to editing articles; or simply being a supportive ear while the body is benefiting from its “sisters”.
“All these talented women who are finally standing up and taking their place in the arena, I’m like ‘these are your sisters and you have to stand up with them’,” she said.
Morrison said CallingBull-Rabbit is a highly respected leader in the business and is honored to have him on his team.
“She’s a big inspiration for pageant girls because she’s from a small town, a small shelter, and she’s got this big title,” Morrison explained. “He was really there every step of the way. It really reminded me to be that proud indigenous women and walk with my head held high in this competition and to stay true to my roots. “
A dream Morrison said she will continue as she fulfills her reign as Miss World Canada and prepares for the 72nd Miss World pageant in 2023.
Morrison said of her new title: “I’ve always had a voice, but this helps me raise my voice to a higher level so I can be heard nationally.” “What I want to do with this title is bring attention to the Indigenous issues that we face here in Canada so I can be that advocate for my Indigenous people.”
These issues include raising awareness about 60 communities without access to clean drinking water in Canada, that Indigenous women are more likely to become victims of violence, and issues of the residential school system and its ongoing ownership. in First Nation communities, Morrison explained.
“There is a lot of change that needs to happen here in this country. If people are more educated about what is happening in our First Nations communities, then we can see change,” he said.
Morrison will also continue to make ribbon skirts, with all proceeds going to the women’s shelter in Ottawa where she currently lives.
“During my government I will bring more awareness to this and it will be one of my responsibilities and I will be accountable to myself.”