diversity | January 31, 2013

Aboriginal Speaker Waneek Horn-Miller On Embracing Her Heritage [VIDEO]

"For so long the Canadian public, and the world, have seen it as a craft, and it's not," Waneek Horn-Miller says of the work that goes into aboriginal clothing and footwear. As a First Nations issues speaker, she promotes the importance of embracing her culture and sharing it with the world. In her role as the spokesperson for the Manitobah Mucklucks brand of footwear, she talks about the importance of buying aboriginal products. In a new commercial, she shares stories of her own heritage and explains why she is proud to wear things that reflect her identity as a Mohawk from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory.

As she says in the video, it is important to always "stand tall and walk tall," and be proud of who you are. Even despite tremendous adversity, it is crucial that you stand up for your heritage. In her keynotes, she shares this message with her audiences of both native and non-native descent. During the Oka Crisis of 1990, when she was only 14, Horn-Miller was stabbed by a Canadian soldier. While she could have easily let the trauma take over her life, she overcome her hurdles and thrived by first becoming co-captain of Canada's Olympic women's water polo team, and now as one of the leading voices on aboriginal issues. Whether it's working toward mending the relationship between natives and non-natives, or encouraging people to be who they are and achieve their dreams, she says that she "always tries to inspire [people] to know that they have the potential to reach the stars."

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