A brother and sister who grew up in Hay River have received a prestigious honour for founding We Matter, a national non-profit organization working to prevent suicide among Indigenous youth.
Kelvin Redvers and T’áncháy Redvers – members of Deninu K’ue First Nation – were among the recipients of the Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) announced on Feb. 25 by the office of the Governor General.
The decorations are among the highest Canadian distinctions that can be awarded.
“It’s really humbling. It’s a huge honour. And it really means a lot,” said Kelvin Redvers, who is a filmmaker in Vancouver.
Redvers said he and his sister are very appreciative for being recognized for founding We Matter in 2016.
“What we hope it does is that it brings more attention to what the organization stands for and more attention to the voices of Indigenous youth, because there’s so much strength there,” he said, noting that the national media in Canada don’t often celebrate the strength of Indigenous youth. “That’s really what we want We Matter to be. And we hope that this award is a celebration of everything that the organization stands for, which is hope and strength and believing and overcoming obstacles.”
Kelvin Redvers and T’áncháy Redvers were among 98 individuals awarded the Meritorious Service Decorations, which recognize individuals for a deed or activity ranging from advocacy initiatives to health care services to humanitarian efforts to artistic contributions.
Since it was founded in 2016, We Matter has grown to be an organization that now has seven staff members.
“I don’t do full-time anymore. I still am involved,” said Redvers, noting he and his sister sit of the organization’s board and oversee things.
Redvers said he still does special projects, such as creating a We Matter radio campaign last year.
We Matter started as an online campaign, and still does that, but it now also offers things like resources and toolkits for communities, training for Indigenous youth to become ambassadors of hope, and small grants for positive projects in communities.
We Matter keeps expanding the programs it offers, said Redvers. “It’s the hard work of many that has made this possible, basically.”
Redvers and his sister will be travelling to Ottawa sometime in the future – once a ceremony can be safely held in this time of Covid-19 – to receive the award in person.