Former Olympian Horn-Miller part of Water Polo Canada diversity task force

Canada's Waneek Horn-Miller (white) of Kahnawake, Que. prevents Kazakhstan's Natalya Galkina (blue) from controlling the ball during their women's preliminary water polo match at the Olympic Games in Sydney Monday, Sept. 18, 2000. Canada won 10-3. (Elise Amendola/AP)

OTTAWA — Water Polo Canada says former Olympic women’s team co-captain Waneek Horn-Miller will be part of a new diversity task force to fight systemic racism and make the organization more inclusive.

In a statement Monday, Water Polo Canada said it “fell short” in creating a diverse environment and apologized to Horn-Miller, a Mohawk from Kahnawake, Que., for past treatment.

“Our actions and inactions have hurt people and athletes, included among them, one of the faces of our first Olympic women’s team co-captain Waneek Horn-Miller, who was compelled to leave water polo before the end of her career,” the organization said. “We sincerely apologize to her, and others who we have hurt and excluded.”

Horn-Miller was dismissed by Water Polo Canada in 2003 for what it called team cohesion issues, a claim she challenged through an arbitration process.

She did not return to the team, but her coaches and teammates were required to undergo cultural and Indigenous sensitivity training.

“Over the past weeks, we took time to reflect as an organization and have some difficult, but necessary, conversations with members of the Canadian water polo community,” Water Polo Canada said. “We want to thank our athletes for being such influential leaders in and out of the pool. It is clear to us now; we, Water Polo Canada, need to do better.”

Horn-Miller became the first Mohawk woman from Canada to compete at the Olympics at the 2000 Sydney Games.

She was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame last year.

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