Family's love of a hunting leads to NAIG riflery success
- Katie Doke Sawatzky | July 22, 2017
A family from George Gordon First Nation is bringing home a total of seven medals from the North American Indigenous Games this week.
Siblings Inez, Montrell and Nidahnia Blind all placed in riflery events, bringing in almost half of the medals that Saskatchewan’s riflery team earned, which was 15.
“It was amazing how I placed. I was overwhelmed and I was proud and amazed,” said Inez Blind, who is 12 and the youngest shooter on the team.
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Blind won silver in 16U (16 and under) female 3P, in which the athletes take an equal amount of shots from standing, kneeling, and prone (lying down on the stomach) positions. She also won bronze in the prone and overall events.
Montrell Blind, 14, won bronze in the 16U male prone. The oldest sibling, Nadahnia, 17, won gold in the U19 female prone and two bronze medals in the overall and 3P categories.
The Blind children’s success is rooted in their upbringing back home. Inez Blind said she became interested in riflery when her father took her hunting when she was four.
“He would take me out into the bush and (I learned) like calling different kinds of animals,” she said. “My first animal that I shot was an elk and that was like a pretty big size.”
Blind said her family still goes hunting every fall. Montrell Blind said seeing the adults in his family shoot motivated him to start competing.
“Getting to see them shoot the guns was really cool and when I actually got to shoot one of mine I just got interested and wanted to improve my skills,” he said.
Inez Blind said the most challenging thing for her about shooting is being in the standing position and staying still and that the weather, which has been hot all week, doesn’t help either.
“It’s hard to stay balanced and the weather is so hot, like when you wear these big jackets, it just like gets you mad when you take a long time (to shoot),” she said.
The Blind siblings train at a shooting range that they’ve set up in their backyard. Their parents have come out to support them. Since their competition finished they’ve been taking in the Toronto sights, like Niagara Falls. Montrell said it’s been fun being in such a different place.
Some of the things that were new to Montrell him were “the huge apartment buildings and the CN tower, like just traffic and just how large this little area is and the amount of people and the variety of competition that there is.”
There are probably more NAIG in Inez’s and Montrell’s future. Inez said she plans to keep on training. The success of all three siblings should certainly encourage them to continue.