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Four people with NWT connections honoured at Rideau Hall

Ethel Blondin-Andrew
Ethel Blondin-Andrew. Photo: Supplied

Ethel Blondin-Andrew, who was Canada’s first Indigenous MP and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada last June, will receive her insignia at a ceremony on Wednesday.

Alongside Blondin-Andrew, Brent Kaulback, Kelvin Redvers, and T’áncháy Redvers will be awarded civil Meritorious Service Medals at the investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 21.

Blondin-Andrew, who was born in Tulita and now calls Norman Wells home, served as the MP for the Western Arctic riding from 1988 to 2006. During her time in government, she helped advance children and youth and northern affairs portfolios when she was responsible for them as a Liberal minister.

The Governor General’s office, which bestows the awards, said Blondin-Andrew “is an active advocate for Indigenous-led initiatives in support of community and land well-being.”

Of Sahtu Dene and Métis descent, she also chaired the Sahtu Secretariat for nine years and is a senior advisor on an Indigenous leadership initiative. 

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Brent Kaulback, an educator who served as the assistant superintendent of the South Slave Divisional Education Council prior to retirement, was the driving force behind the publication of more than 300 Indigenous language books for classrooms. 

Brent Kaulback on the set of Three Feathers in 2016. Sarah Pruys/Three Feathers
Brent Kaulback on the set of Three Feathers in 2016. Sarah Pruys/Three Feathers

“He worked with Elders and other community members to curate stories, legends and traditional teachings into illustrated books, as well as to create dictionaries in three languages. Accompanied by audio files demonstrating correct pronunciation, the collection serves as an integral part of the effort to preserve and revitalize Canada’s Indigenous languages,” noted the Governor General’s website.

Kaulback also helped produce Three Feathers, a movie based on Richard Van Camp’s book, which was shot simultaneously in four languages: English, nēhiyawēwin, Dëne Sųłıné Yatıé, and Dene Zhatıé.

Siblings Kelvin and T’áncháy Redvers are the co-founders of We Matter, a national youth-led Indigenous non-profit which supports Indigenous youth and promotes hope.

Kelvin and T’áncháy Redvers founded We Matter in 2016. Photo: Kelvin Redvers

When their Meritorious Service Medals were first announced in 2021, Kelvin said, “I was really humbled and honoured. It was kind of overwhelming and surreal.”

“The organization’s flagship project, the We Matter Campaign, receives and publishes thousands of videos, artwork and other online multimedia messages of love and inspiration intended for Indigenous youth experiencing hardships. The campaign has reached millions of people across Canada and beyond,” said the Governor General’s website.