Sometimes, you got to just ‘shoot, then aim’

By Karli Zschogner
I’ve often been afraid of doing something wrong in some way, often paralyzed to just try. A few years ago, I was working security at the Prime Minister’s office while I was just starting an internship as a coordinator for a parliamentary group. An older security colleague surprised me with a simple phrase that holds truth to me in overcoming fears, especially when addressing human rights.

Elders in Residence participate in a workshop held on making tipi lamps (Photo Credit: Sierra Marie Cowley)

He told me that sometimes you “just got to shoot, then aim in life.”

In other words, take the risk, act and then reassess, or else you will never learn from trying and nothing will change.

Ireland Bird foraging for edible plants during a land-based education class funded by Jordan’s Principle. (Photo Credit: Karli Zschogner)

Humbled to be a guest in the small Naotkamegwanning First Nation (formerly Whitefish Bay) community, I am learning that there is no better time than the present to just jump into things (literally and figuratively). It could be jumping into the bay regularly while people think you’re crazy because of the cold, biking in whatever weather to get around the community, or getting over shyness and introducing yourself.

I have found active listening for commonality and partnership is key to begin facilitating action.

Christian interviews a community member and fellow student on his input of the OSPCA’s removal of unleashed and unaccounted for dogs on reserve. (Photo credit: Wytner Taylor)

I am grateful to have met a community member with prior experience writing community newsletters and who is now the ‘graduation coach’ at Baibombeh Anishinaabe School. He has helped in building community partnerships and getting momentum, as well as locating interested contributors for a regular newspaper.

I have learned that sitting down to structured academic lessons is not always productive. Instead, I’ve taken action by using invitations to class trips on identifying foraging plants or to mini pow wows as photography or interview training opportunities. Then comes the challenge of finding the secret ingredient for planning and follow-through towards a finished story.

Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame’s George Kakeway shares his similar experiences at St. Mary’s Residential School (Kenora) and Assiniboia Indian Residential School (Winnipeg) to the character Saul in ‘Indian Horse’. (Photo credit: Wynter Taylor)

Looking to organize a safe community space to address direct residential schools experiences, I collaborated with a respected teacher to screen Anishinaabe storyteller Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse. We decided to create a two-project opportunity for a small grade 11 class to dip into the fulfilling and lasting rewards of storytelling through journalism.

Young Ashanti Wilson takes pride in the regalia her mother made her as she participates in Baibombeh Anishinaabe School Fall Mini Pow Wow (Photo Credit: Ireland Bird)

Seeing a smile or look of focused concentration, gives me hope and confidence that giving people the opportunity to just ‘shoot, then aim’ alongside hands-on guidance provides a confidence boost, which straight theory never gives you: that you are capable, that you have talent, and that your experience and voice matter.

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