First Nations Issues Speaker
Waneek Horn-Miller, a Mohawk from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory near Montreal, was behind the lines during the Oka crisis, in 1990, when she was stabbed by a Canadian soldier's bayonet. This near-death experience marked a turning point in her life. Instead of recoiling, she came back stronger than ever. In 2000, she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, in her role as co-captain of Canada's Olympic women's water polo team. More recently, Horn-Miller has worked to attract Aboriginal youth to higher education by building self-esteem and emphasizing a balance between education and sports.
Suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after being stabbed during the Oka stand-off, Waneek Horn-Miller could have recoiled from life. Instead, she embraced it like never before. On stage, she traces the powerful journey she took from beleaguered youth to star Olympic athlete to one of the most articulate and vibrant voices in Aboriginal culture today. A model of perseverance, good-natured humor, and preternatural wisdom, Horn-Miller inspires audiences to follow their own dreams, fight for their heritage, and achieve their full potential in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
First Nations Rights
"The Canadian public doesn't want to hand down to their children this dysfunctional relationship between Canadian culture and Aboriginal people," says Waneek Horn-Miller. In this talk, she deftly navigates the complicated past and increasingly bright future of First Nations issues. Bringing us face-to-face with a new generation of Native youth, she shows us how a polyphony of Aboriginal voices are participating fully in the democratic process, building bridges to the non-native community, and--thanks to the rise of social media--contributing like never before to their shared future, while celebrating their rich cultural past. "To make the big change in Aboriginal culture," she says, "there's going to have to be a concerted effort from the non-native side and from our side. I think now is the time. It's the perfect storm."
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