Waneek Horn-Miller

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Waneek Horn-Miller
Medal record
Women's water polo
Representing  Canada
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1999 Winnipeg Team
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2001 Fukuoka Team

Waneek Horn-Miller is a Mohawk of Kahnawake.[1] She was a member of the Canadian women's water polo team that won a gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.[2] Horn-Miller also became the first Mohawk woman from Canada to ever compete in the Olympic games.[3] She was named an inductee for Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in the athlete category in 2019.[4]

Sporting career[edit]

Waneek Horn-Miller was a key member of the Canadian women's water polo team that won gold at the 1999 Pan Am Games. Voted MVP, Horn-Miller became co-captain and proudly led her team at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the first year the Olympics included water polo. The team finished fifth in Sydney. In 2000, she was awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the Youth category. She went on to help Canada win a bronze medal at the 2001 FINA World Championships.[1] Horn-Miller was known for her fierce competitive spirit and powerful shooting arm.[5] After 9 years as a member of national program Horn-Miller was dismissed by Water Polo Canada, with the organization citing team cohesion problems.[5] Horn-Miller was outspoken about the dismissal, accusing the organization of racism.[5] She challenged the claim and all parties, including national team coaches, athletes, and Horn-Miller, agreed to arbitration using the alternate dispute resolution system for sport.[6] In 2004, Horn-Miller did not return to the team and her coaches and teammates were required to undergo cultural sensitivity training and Aboriginal sensitivity training.[6] It was revealed that the members of her team thought that she was "intimidating" and they were not comfortable around her.[7]

Waneek began her athletic career as a competitive swimmer at the age of 7. She switched to water polo while attending Carleton University in Ottawa, where she studied political science.[8] Horn-Miller graduated from Carleton as a three-time athlete of the year.[9] She is a member of the Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame.[10] Between 1990 and 1997, Horn-Miller has participated in the North American Indigenous Games and won over 20 gold medals, including one for rifle shooting.[11]

In 1999, Horn-Miller won the national Tom Longboat Award that recognizes Aboriginal athletes for their outstanding contributions to sport in Canada.[12] In 2006, Horn-Miller was selected as a torchbearer for the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.[8]

Professional career[edit]

In 2008, Horn-Miller served as a broadcaster for CBC Sports at the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing.[13]

In October 2011, Horn-Miller teamed up with the Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network to launch a fitness and healthy-eating initiative called Working It Out Together, which follows six Mohawks on their pursuit of better health.[14]

Waneek has also served as a motivational speaker. In 2014, she spoke to 18,000 youth from more than 1,000 schools across North America at WE Day in Toronto, with a message about overcoming obstacles and promoting positive social change in Indigenous communities in Canada.[8] She fights against racism since she had received unfair treatment as an indigenous athlete. She is trying to help other young indigenous athletes to work hard for what they want to achieve despite the racism they may face.[15]

Waneek has been an influential speaker for the younger generation of Mohawks, she tries to motivate and be the role model for the kids to be hard-working and determined to achieve all their goals, just as she did as an indigenous athlete.[16]

In November 2014, Horn-Miller was selected as an assistant chef de mission for the Canadian contingent that competed at the 2015 Pan American Games.[17] In addition to serving as a mentor for the athletes, this volunteer position was responsible for promoting the Pan Am Games at various events and also communicating with various sporting bodies to ensure their athletes needs are being met.

In 2015 Horn-Miller was named one of Canada’s most influential women in sport by the Canadian Association for Advancement of Women and Sport.[18]

Horn-Miller also served as an ambassador for Nike's Native American initiative, Nike N7.[19] She is currently a brand ambassador for Manitobah Mukluks and director of their Storyboot School.[20] She is a 2019 inductee into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Waneek is the daughter of former model and First Nations activist Kahn-Tineta Horn and George Miller (Mohawk educator and academic), and the sister of actress Kaniehtiio Horn. Waneek was present at the Oka Crisis in the occupational camp as a 14 year old. On the 78th and last day of the standoff as the occupiers were walking out there was a physical altercation between soldiers and Mohawk militants and Waneek was stabbed near the heart by a soldier's bayonet as she carried her sister, and nearly lost her life.[21]

During her 2000 Olympic campaign Horn-Miller appeared on the cover of Time magazine.[1] Appearing nude, except for a water polo ball and a feather, on the cover was somewhat controversial but triumphed as a positive representation of healthy female athletes body. Horn-Miller was inspired by Mohawk Olympian Alwyn Morris. Following his advice, Waneek has worked hard to share her achievements in hopes of inspiring others to reach for their dreams.[5]

In 2014, Horn-Miller was one of seven people suing the Kahnawake Mohawk Council over the "marry out, stay out" policy, which prevents Mohawks who marry non-Mohawks from staying in the territory.[22]

In February 2017, Horn-Miller was announced as the director of community engagement for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.[23] Horn-Miller stepped down from the inquiry in August.[13] There has been controversy surrounding the operations and a coalition of family members, activists and academics sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding the "deeply misguided" inquiry get a hard reset.[13]


  1. ^ a b c http://olympic.ca/team-canada/waneek-horn-miller/
  2. ^ Canadian Press (CP) (8 August 1999). "Canadian Medallists". Slam! Sports. Canoe.ca.
  3. ^ "Waneek Horn-Miller Speaking Bio and Videos | The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau". www.thelavinagency.com. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  4. ^ a b May 27, The Canadian Press Updated:; 2019 (2019-05-27). "Sask. Paralympian Colette Bourgonje among Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductees | Saskatoon StarPhoenix". Retrieved 2019-05-30.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ a b c d "Moving Images Distribution: Waneek Horn-Miller • Chiefs and Champions". www.movingimages.ca. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  6. ^ a b Forsyth, Janice; Giles, Audrey R. (2013). Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press. p. 2.
  7. ^ Joseph, Janelle; Darnell, Simon; Nakamura, Yuka (2012). Race and Sport in Canada: Intersecting Inequalities. Canadian Scholars’ Press. ISBN 9781551304144.
  8. ^ a b c "150 Stories - Edit item". www.crrf-fcrr.ca. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  9. ^ https://carleton.ca/cu75/2015/waneek-horn-miller/
  10. ^ https://goravens.ca/hall-of-fame/horn-miller-waneek/
  11. ^ "Archived-Celebrating Women's Achievements". Library and Archives Canada.
  12. ^ Forsyth, Janice (2005). "List of Regional(R) and National(N) "Tom Longboat" recipients 1951-2001" (PDF). Aboriginal Sport Circle. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "MMIWG loses another top staffer as families slam 'colonial' inquiry, demand hard reset". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  14. ^ "The Motivation of a Mohawk: Waneek Horn-Miller Inspires First Nations to Exercise and Eat right - Indian Country Media Network". indiancountrymedianetwork.com. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  15. ^ Forsyth, Janice; Giles, Audrey R. (2012-12-25). Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues. UBC Press. ISBN 9780774824224.
  16. ^ King, C. Richard (2015-03-10). Native Americans in Sports. Routledge. ISBN 9781317464037.
  17. ^ "TO 2015 makes a splash with Horn-Miller as assistant Chef de Mission". Team Canada - Official 2018 Olympic Team Website. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  18. ^ "Most Influential Women 2015 | Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity". www.caaws.ca. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  19. ^ "Nike N7 Collection Launches in Canada Expanding Access and Funding to Aboriginal Communities". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  20. ^ "Learn to make authentic moccasins at the Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot School". NOW Magazine. 2016-11-22. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  21. ^ Oka Timeline: An Unresolved Land Claim Hundreds of Years in the Making, CBC, 19 November 2015, retrieved 6 February 2016
  22. ^ "Mohawk Council of Kahnawake being sued over its band membership law". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  23. ^ International, Radio Canada. "Waneek Horn-Miller's mission with MMIW Inquiry". www.rcinet.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-17.

External links[edit]