High hopes for archery on Six Nations

SIX NATIONS — In the evening of Thursday, September 26, members of Six Nations Tourism put together their last archery night of the season to close the programs second year running.

Hawk Jacobs, an archery program facilitator, explained that for the archery nights, the participants would use traditional bows and arrows with regular circle targets, as well as one 3-D deer target and balloons to motivate the archers.

“I like it,” said Jacobs in regards to teaching the sport. “I’d just like more people to get into it ‘cause I feel like I missed out the whole time that I didn’t do it. And it’s something that anybody can do, like you don’t need to be in shape or a specific age — anyone can do it.”

Speaking solely to those interested in hunting, he said that using a bow opens up a lot of opportunity.

“I think I got my first compound bow when I was sixteen, so I’ve been using bows for twelve or thirteen years,” he said. “It just opens up a lot more hunting opportunities ‘cause it’s quieter and safer. A lot of guys use hunting rifles and you can’t hunt near houses and stuff with those.”

Jacobs said that there are also many competitive opportunities using compound bows in the area as well, including Brantford and Kitchener with a competition that took place near Ancaster this past weekend. But competitively speaking, he said that there are “only ten” indigenous bowmen that go to compete.

In talks of Six Nations hosting a tournament in the future, Jacobs said that one was held two years ago that yielded over 130 archers.

“It was really good, so we want to get that going again. This is a good place for it,” he said.

Moving from a cultural hunting technique, archery first appeared in the Olympic Games in 1900. In the year 1904 women competed in Olympic archery, making it one of the first sports to include both genders.

“When you think of archery it’s not just a physical activity, it’s a mental activity,” said Alysha Longboat, who is the marketing and programming supervisor at SN Tourism.

“When we do have people come in we try to talk about how archery is really for anybody, like anybody can shoot.”

Longboat explained that members of SN Tourism earned the archery instruction training to offer it to the community, and each month they would offer themed archery nights such as ladies night and youth and family night.

“For the most part, there’s a lot of interest and that’s part of the reason why we started it and it’s also because there was a lack of it.”

She said that for their regular archery nights the program has seen up to twelve archers at a time.

“But we don’t just do these nightly programs,” she added. “You can ask us to come here and shoot. We’ve had McMaster University come here, where they had up to thirty people shooting and we’ve had GREAT (Grand River Employment and Training) members here.”

Longboat said that she has gone hunting herself with a compound bow and also went to two competitions and wanted to share what she seen archery could offer.

“We’re trying to get it more out there even education wise, for outdoor events, but it’s still starting up so hopefully we’ll get there,” she said.

The duo explained that the competition that was held on Six Nations had 3-D targets set up along the trail that leads from the SN Tourism parking lot, with groups of four entering to shoot at a time, and a sector of the competition seated on the Chiefswood Park grounds.

There are hopes that the program will garner enough interest to return next year.

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