Executive Director (Interim)
Lead Commission Counsel
She has represented survivors of sexual and institutionalized violence for over 25 years in the civil litigation context at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has achieved landmark decisions and results. She is recognized as a pioneer in developing rights and remedies on behalf of survivors and has been awarded the Law Society Medal by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Award of Justice by the Advocates’ Society in recognition of her ground-breaking work.
Ms. Vella was one of the earliest lawyers representing Indigenous people who were sexually abused by clergy in both the on-reserve and off-reserve context, and has continued representing Indigenous people, First Nations, and First Nation organizations on issues involving sexual and physical violence towards Indigenous people. She recently obtained a decision adding two residential high schools (in northwestern Ontario) to the list of eligible Indian Residential Schools under the I.A.P. against Canada.
Ms. Vella was also Commission Counsel to the Ipperwash Inquiry which investigated the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Dudley George by an O.P.P. officer during a land dispute.
Director of Research
Professor Craft comes to the National Inquiry with impressive research credentials. As Director of Research, she will guide a multi-person team that aims to assist the National Inquiry to diverse areas of the mandate, including the recognition of Indigenous legal traditions.
Aimée is the former Director of Research at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and a member of the speakers’ bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. She is also a leading researcher in Indigenous Perspectives on Treaties, Canadian Aboriginal law, Indigenous water laws and effects of hydroelectric projects on Indigenous communities in Northern Manitoba.
During her decade working with the Public Interest law Centre, Aimée worked with several Indigenous groups related to land, resources, governance, human rights and consultation and accommodation. She is the former Chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association. In 2016, she was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada.
Director of Community Relations
Waneek Horn-Miller brings extensive contacts and Indigenous community connections to the National Inquiry. She will lead a country-wide team of regional liaisons and is responsible for connecting the grassroots community with the National Inquiry, including families of missing and murdered women and girls, victims and advocates, as well as National Indigenous Organizations.
Waneek, a Mohawk from Kahnawake and Ohsweken, has been a strong advocate for Indigenous health and wellness across Turtle Island. She has travelled extensively in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds sharing her story of how she was able to turn a very traumatic experience of being stabbed by a Canadian soldier during the Oka Crisis to becoming an Olympian 10 years later. Waneek brings solid teamwork experience to her role of Director of Community Relations and looks forward to working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who participate in the National Inquiry to help build a stronger and safer future for Indigenous women and girls.
Director of Health
Terrellyn Fearn joins the National Inquiry bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the area of violence prevention, crisis intervention, community development and wellness. She is of mixed ancestry and a member of Glooscap First Nation with strong Mi’kmaq lineage from her paternal grandmother and rich Irish roots from her maternal grandmother.
She brings wisdom and understanding of inter-generational trauma in Indigenous contexts and has extensive experience developing training, curriculum, and programs through this lens. Her practice over the last 22 years has focused in the area of health, child welfare, and violence prevention in over 300 Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.
Terrellyn has created culturally specific health frameworks and assessment tools and has published books relating to health and wellness of Indigenous children and trauma informed resources for non-Indigenous service providers supporting Indigenous families. Her individual and group work is rooted in honouring inter-generational resilience which forms the foundation for wellness and healing.
Her passion to end violence and abuse against Indigenous people is rooted in her traditional principles and teachings which aim to strengthen families, communities, and Nations.