WANEEK HORN-MILLER hails from the Mohawk communities of Kahnawake and Ohsweken. As one of Canada’s few Indigenous Olympians, she has worked extensively in the both the Indigenous and non-indigenous worlds as a motivational speaker, facilitator and in business sales. She has melded her love of all things Indigenous with her teamwork background, goal and excellence directed style to advance the goals of Reconciliation through social and economic development and advancement.
“Similar to the arduous process of making wampum beads, the journey of that Waneek Horn Miller doesn’t begin and end with being a 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.”
CLAUDIA JIMERSON has many years of both playing and contributing to the growth and development of Women’s Lacrosse. Claudia is Senior Human Resource Executive with 20 years of successful experience in professional development in the hospitality industry and has expanded in the area of talent acquisition over recent years. She brings a wealth of knowledge in organization development and training that
contributes to the foundation of building a positive environment that fosters learning, growth and enthusiasm in all aspects of the game.
In the last 2 years, she has led the Haudenosaunee Women’s Nationals to compete in 3 international competitions where they have placed 1 st , 8 th and 7 th respectively. Claudia has demonstrated passion for the game through the years, but more importantly what the game cultivates in girls/young women. She uses the game as a tool to empower young girls/women to believe in themselves, be confident and know their impact both on and off the field. In addition, since the Haudenosaunee people gifted the world with the game of Lacrosse, she uses her role to educate others on the history, culture and spirit of the Haudenosaunee people.
KALLEY ARMSTRONG is the granddaughter of legendary Toronto Maple Leaf captain George Armstrong. Nicknamed “the Chief” by the Stoney Plains First Nation reserve, he was one of the first Indigenous hockey players in the National Hockey League. George is the longest serving captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played a total of 21 seasons in the NHL between 1950-1971, winning a total of 4 Stanley Cups. George always said that the two most influential people in his life were women: his Anishinaabe mother and his Anishinaabe grandmother.
In 2019, Kalley launched Armstrong Hockey in honor of her grandfather and their love for the game of hockey. Armstrong Hockey focuses on providing hockey development opportunities for Indigenous youth. In the summer of 2019, Kalley ran her first Indigenous youth hockey camp in London, Ontario open to all First Nations youth in surrounding communities. Youth from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Munsee-Delaware Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames and the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown attended the camp. The camp had a large female leadership presence. She was helped by her long-time best friends and former hockey teammates Kelly Babstock from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and Sydney Daniels from Mistawasis Cree First Nation who are strong
female leaders in their own communities. Kalley continues to run programs for Indigenous youth in London.
Kalley is currently in her 3rd year of her PhD at Western University where her research focuses on the experience of hockey from Indigenous youth perspectives and the complexities surrounding gender in Indigenous hockey.
She is specifically looking at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships and exploring the challenges that young female Indigenous hockey players face in comparison to their male counterparts.
Prior to Western, Kalley completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard University. Kalley played 4 years on the Harvard Women’s Hockey Team, captaining the team in her senior year and helping the Crimson to win the 2015 Ivy League Championship, the 2015 ECAC Season Championship, the 2015 ECAC Tournament Championship, the 2015 Beanpot Championship, and finish as the 2015 Frozen Four Runner-Up. In her junior year she was selected to the All-Ivy League Second Team and named the ECAC Best Defensive Forward.
AMY WILSON-HANDS is an Anishinaabekwe woman from Rainy River First Nations in Treaty 3 and resided in her hometown of Fort Frances, Ontario. She moved to the Greater Toronto Area in 2017 and is a proud wife and mother. Amy began her involvement in sports from a young age where she was introduced to all types of sports through her father. She competed in baseball, basketball, soccer and volleyball, the latter being very much a big part of her life in the way of coaching.
Amy’s coaching career began with elementary, high school and club. In 2016, she was awarded an Aboriginal Apprenticeship for the 2017 Canada Games through the Coaches Association of Canada. Amy was on the Team Ontario Women’s volleyball bench which competed in Winnipeg, Manitoba and earned a fourth place.
Amy co-founded two volleyball clubs in Northwestern Ontario with the most recent in 2015. She is particularly proud of the Fort Frances Fire ‘n’ Ice Volleyball Club as 90% of the athletes and 100% of the coaching staff were Indigenous. Athletes from the ages of four to 18 were involved in this programming.
Amy was the head coach for the 16U Aboriginal Team Ontario Women’s volleyball team for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games as well as again with the 19U Aboriginal Team Ontario Women’s volleyball team for the 2020 North American Indigenous Games that were cancelled due to COVID.
Amy was also named to the Waterloo Warriors Coaching Staff in 2020 as an Assistant Coach and also is on the Team Ontario Mission Staff for the 2022 Canada Games in the Niagara Region. She was awarded the prestigious 2021 Sandy Silvers OVA Coach of the Year.
Amy’s passion is coaching, and creating ways to help athletes from the north learn and grow in sport particularly volleyball. Amy created the Northwestern Ontario Region Virtual Volleyball Academy where athletes from the North were able to learn from University, College & Club coaches on various volleyball topics. At the end of the Academy, the athletes were able to have a Q&A with Team Canada Players, Autumn Bailey & Courtney Baker.
Amy currently loves spending time with her family, refurbishing furniture and watching scary movies.
JESSICA GHOSEN is an All-Star Roller Derby athlete based out of Buffalo, NY. She spent nine years passionately giving her all to the sport; in any capacity she could. She has been a skater, captain, as well as a coach. Jessica began skating back in 2011 with Queen City Roller Derby and rapidly progressed year after year. In late 2013, she was drafted as a travel charter skater with the Lake Effect Furies.
The Lake Effect Furies steadily climbed in the WFTDA’s rankings and were last placed at 23rd in the world at the start of the 2020 season. The Furies were on track to make the biggest waves they’ve ever imagined in 2020, before the pandemic shook the world, and brought everything to a halt.
Jessica has also had the honor of being an active skater and participant with Team Indigenous Rising Roller Derby since 2017. Team Indigenous was formed to provide a space for Indigenous roller derby athletes to unite and motivate, share experiences, and feel seen and heard within the derby community. In 2018, they represented for the first time at the Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester, England where they placed 27 out of 38 in the tournament.
These experiences have helped Jessica dive deeper not only into her physical health but also her mental health too. In March of 2020, Jessica received her 250 hour certification as a registered Yoga Teacher through Evolation Yoga. For the past year, Jessica has been teaching Vinyasa Flow classes both online and in-person. She hopes one day to be able to offer free or donation based classes to communities that typically wouldn’t have access to this spiritual practice.
She believes yoga has the ability to be life changing, transformative, and is something that has been a truly positive force within her life. This past May, she joined the worker-owner collective with Evolation Yoga, and has since been working to revive the studio that has been a pivotal component in her life over the last several years.
This past year has been filled with obstacles in so many ways. It has forced us to slow down, turn inward, and reflect on so many aspects of our lives. Jessica is grateful for the spiritual journey that Yoga has taken her on and feels that it has helped her on her path to healing in so many ways.
Jessica is unsure what the next chapter of her life looks like but she’s certain roller skating will continue to be an activity she leans into when needed. She currently enjoys leisure and park skating during her downtime and tries to take as many yoga classes as she teaches to stay balanced. When not partaking in these activities, Jessica enjoys being outdoors, hiking with her partner and dogs, connecting to nature, gardening, and is learning to connect with culture and herself through craft.