Similar to the arduous process of making wampum beads, the journey of that Waneek Horn-Miller doesn’t begin and end with being an Olympic Water Polo athlete. A Mohawk from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory near Montreal, Waneek was behind the lines during the Oka crisis in 1990 when she was stabbed by a Canadian soldier’s bayonet. It was a near-death experience that marked a turning point in her life. Waneek has overcome discrimination and violence to emerge as one of North America’s most inspiring female Indigenous speakers, facilitators and advocates with a compelling perspective and dynamic stories to share.
Her presentations and keynotes are aimed at bridging the gap and repairing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. While she recently stepped down from her role as for the MMIWG Inquiry to focus on her family, she continues support the goal of the Inquiry and advocates on Indigenous issues in other ways to help build healthy and prosperous communities. Waneek is an advocate for building Indigenous sport and has worked with the Assembly of First Nations to develop their sport, fitness and health strategy. Drawing on her experiences as the former co-captain of Canada‘s Olympic women’s water polo team, Waneek shares her story and teaches how to build self-esteem through a balance of education and sport. Waneek travels extensively from border to border, speaking to Indigenous and non- Indigenous audiences on issues of reconciliation, sport and why it is important we must all strive for our dreams.
Jenn is a Metis woman from Saskatchewan who has dedicated her career to working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses, organizations and governments bridge the gap between corporate and culture. From her early days as a Policy Analyst for Saskatchewan Health she learned that part of reconciliation was not necessarily people not wanting to work together, but not understanding how to work together. She made it her mission to help non-Indigenous people understand reconciliation. She became a National Trainer for Indigenous Perceptions with Correctional Service Canada, where she led over 40 training sessions with parole officers, management and policy analysts not just in what Indigenous history was, but how practical application to their day-to-day work. Jenn successfully negotiated a deal between Correctional Services Canada and an insurance firm to ensure Elders were able to get the necessary coverage to hold contracts with the government. It involved exploring the perception of the insurance company on the work of the Elders and breaking it down into information that they understood and could cover.
Jenn is a speaker, comedian and has a syndicated column for CBC radio. She is a trained and expert facilitator and works with IFS on executive administration, research, social media engagement and facilitation. Jenn won the 2022 Ruth Martin Rotary Award for community service.