A Big Island teenager acted like quite the big shot—but in a good way.
Julianna Indian would have made Robin Hood envious with her gold medal-winning display in the advanced level division of compound archery at the Ontario Aboriginal Summer Games in Brantford and Six Nations last month.
The 15-year-old, along with the rest of the roughly 40-archer field, were taking shots in the dark figuratively—with the outcome unknown until the very end of the event.
“We weren’t allowed to see our scores during the competition,” explained Indian, who originally is from Rainy River First Nation.
“It was easier not having to worry about the scores and made it more fun that way,” she added.
“But I was pretty surprised when they told me I won.”
Indian picked up the bow and arrow after being enraptured with the 2012 Disney movie, “Brave,” which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
She decided to follow in the footsteps of the movie’s protagonist, Merida, by developing a passion for archery, which only has grown stronger with every shot.
“The best part has been being able to travel all over and meet new people,” the teen said.
Indian’s first big competitive test was at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games in Regina, where she finished eighth in the U16 competitive bow division.
Then last year, she cracked the top five at the Minnesota State Archery Championships before placing seventh at the Archery 3D Nationals in Carberry, Man.
“I’m still learning at the start of my career,” Indian admitted.
“But going to all three of those competitions, I was able to meet some pros that helped me out,” she noted.
“It really depends on money and how really far out these competitions are to get out to,” Indian explained, referring to her infrequent participation when it comes to competitive shooting.
“If it was something closer in Thunder Bay or Winnipeg, that would be easier to get to.”
Up next for Indian is the most prestigious event yet for her, this time in Las Vegas.
“The Vegas Shoot,” taking place Feb. 10-12, is the first leg of the 17th-annual 3-Star Tour put on by the National Field Archery Association in the U.S.
The NFAA hails the event as the largest and most prestigious indoor archery tournament in the world, attracting more than 3,000 novice to Olympic archers from around the globe.
Thousands of spectators are expected to watch the sharpshooters battle it out for $350,000 (U.S.) in cash prizes and scholarships.
“It’ll be fun,” Indian mused about “The Vegas Shoot,” which is open to all shooters.
As for perhaps one day walking the same trail as Canadians like Georcy Thiffeault-Picard and Crispin Duenas did in recent days at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?
“I think that it would be pretty cool to compete in the Olympics,” said Indian.
“But I’ve still got a long way to go and need to polish my technique first,” she stressed.