ASWCO Coaches Corner

National Coaches Week is a week to celebrate the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities across Canada. The week of September 22 – 30, is another opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play simply by saying, #ThanksCoach.

The Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) would like to highlight and celebrate the five coaches who were selected to attend the 2018 Ontario Coaches Conference (OCC) in London, ON. from April 20-22, 2018. You can check out the conference highlights here.



Denise Miller

Denise is 24 years old from the community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Gohedowehta is her Indigenous, Onkwehonwe, name meaning A girls standing in a middle of the field observing where to plant the seeds. She is from the Cayuga Nation and Wolf Clan. Denise is currently finishing her BA Honours in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and has recently graduated from the Foundations of Indigenous Learning Diploma Program. In previous years she has had the opportunity to coach girls field lacrosse from U-15 to U-19. Denise desires to coach girls hockey and box lacrosse in the years to come. One of the goals she aspires to accomplish is to coach girls/women’s field lacrosse at the national level. Denise has been involved with lacrosse since the age of five and had the opportunity to win gold during the 2017/18 season OUA Championship. Some of the awards she has won are game MVP’s, OUA Best Defense Player, and Trent’s Distinction Award. She is currently in the process of addressing racism and discrimination in women’s field lacrosse at the university level, from coaches to fans in using her platform at Trent University.

Why do you enjoy coaching? “I enjoy coaching because of the feeling I get when I see a young person accomplish something, small or big. I love seeing young Haudenosaunee woman become successful within sport and education. There’s not a lot of opportunities to get recruited or supports coming from the community for Indigenous athletes – especially women and girls. Having the opportunity to coach you get to see the first-hand experience Indigenous youth face; from low self-esteem to inadequate funding (high sports fees and equipment, etc.)”.  

Who/What influenced you to start coaching? “My mom, Kari Chew Miller, has influenced to coach and to become politically involved. She founded the Six Nations Girls Field Lacrosse Association, Haudenosaunee Nationals, and was on the first team Iroquois (for the women). Everything she did and persevered through motivates me to keep going and to make a difference. I hope to start my own organization someday – just like her”.