You Can Do Anything

Hello, friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post, I’ve been a bit busy with things. But, I promise to make more frequent posts in the next few months coming up.

Now, to get on with the topic.

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Aisholpan with her eagle. Photo by Asher Svidensky/Kissaki Films

One of my absolute favourite documentaries has just been released on Netflix. If you are subscribed to Netflix, I urge you to watch it. If you are not, you are able to rent the movie on YouTube for $5.

Up in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia live the Kazakh nomads. They have an ancient tradition of “eagle hunting” (hunting with eagles, not actually hunting eagles). Traditionally, the practice is passed down from father to son, but that does not mean that there have never been female eagle hunters in history. In fact, there are records of eagle huntresses that go all the way back to the 10th century AD.  The challenging conditions up in the mountains mean that men and women must engage in riding and hunting together. While there is a general acceptance of eagle huntresses in the Kazakh community, there are those who strongly disagree with women participating.

The Eagle Huntress
shares the story of Aisholpan, a 13 (now 14) year old girl who, with the help of her father and blessing of her grandfather, sets out to become an eagle huntress. To do so, she competed in the Ulgii eagle festival and went hunting in the harsh winter, which is extremely difficult for any expert eagle hunter. Defying expectations and challenging every obstacle, her bravery and persistence guide her to her goals.

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Aisholpan and her eagle. Photo by Asher Svidensky
During an interview with Aisholpan, she was asked the question: “What’s one piece of advice you want to tell your fellow young women?”. Her response was: “Dear girls, you can do anything!”. Through her story, Aisholpan proves that girls can do anything they put their mind to, regardless of obstacles and of people who tell you that you can’t. She not only competed in the Ulgii eagle festival, she was the first woman to win the title of champion. Guided by her own courage, her father, and her nomadic culture that encourages equality, she proved she could do anything.

Today, Aisholpan is studying hard at school in hopes of working in medicine. When Aisholpan eventually leaves for school, her younger sister plans on keeping up the family heritage of eagle hunting. Furthermore, there are now more young girls showing up to the Ulgii eagle festival and competing.
For anyone reading this, regardless of who you are, always strive for your ambitions and have the courage and persistence to execute them.

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