Two siblings from the Deninu K’ue First Nation have been awarded the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal for their work supporting Indigenous youth across the country.
Kelvin and T’áncháy Redvers, who grew up in Hay River, are being recognized for founding We Matter, a non-profit organization that works to uplift Indigenous youth across Canada. The medal is among the highest Canadian distinctions that can be awarded.
“I was really humbled and honoured. It was kind of overwhelming and surreal,” Kelvin Redvers told Cabin Radio of the achievement. “When you put a lot of work into something, it is always nice to have recognition, but also what I hope is that it brought recognition to the organization as a whole.”
Redvers said he and T’áncháy started We Matter in 2016, after they were inspired by the It Gets Better social media campaign, which provides hope and encouragement to LGBTQ+ youth.
“We knew having grown up in the Northwest Territories and being Dene that there wasn’t a ton of mental health resources, specifically for Indigenous youth and for the kinds of issues that we went through when we were growing up,” he said.
“We kind of had an aha moment where we realized this could work for Indigenous folks as well.”
What started as an online video campaign sharing messages of hope to Indigenous youth has since grown into a national organization that supports a number of projects and programs.
Redvers said one of the goals of We Matter is to provide opportunities for Indigenous youth, adding that some graduates of We Matter’s ambassadors of hope program now work for the organization.
“It’s been a pretty exciting journey to watch and to witness.”
Redvers said he hopes the medal will raise more awareness about the organization and show youth that they can make a difference in their communities and across Canada.
“When I was growing up in Hay River, it always sort of felt that there was the rest of the world and then there was the North and we were kind of separate from it. But there’s a lot of interest, the world is kind-of curious about what life is like up north,” he said.
“There’s just so much opportunity to become voices, and changemakers, especially within our own region.”