We Matter is an Indigenous-led and nationally registered non-profit organization that is committed to Indigenous youth empowerment, hope and life promotion. Our key project is the We Matter Campaign – a national multi-media campaign in which Indigenous role models and allies from across Canada submit short video, written and artistic messages sharing their own experiences of overcoming hardships, and communicating with Indigenous youth that no matter how hopeless life can feel, there is always a way forward.
Suicide rates for Indigenous youth are several times higher than that of other Canadians, as well as rates for things like addiction, abuse, and school drop outs.
We believe this doesn’t have to be the case.
Our mission is to communicate to Indigenous youth that they matter, and to provide resources to encourage and support those going through a hard time while fostering unity and resiliency. We provide a forum for people across the country to share messages of hope and positivity. By sharing our stories, our words of encouragement, and our authentic messages of hope and resilience, we help to make a community and nation stronger. We remind youth that I Matter. You Matter. We Matter. We prove that we are all #StrongerTogether.
WE MATTER IS COMMITTED TO:
Connecting Indigenous youth with positive messages of hope, culture, wellness, healing, mental health and life promotion
Gathering and amplifying Indigenous and Indigenous youth voices
Creating space and opportunity for Canadians to celebrate and honour the voices and experiences of Indigenous youth
Creating and distributing materials and resources designed to empower Indigenous youth
Building Indigenous youth capacity in schools and communities by implementing Indigenous youth-led programming and enabling peer-to-peer support
WHAT WE DO
The We Matter Campaign is a national multi-media campaign in which Indigenous role models and allies submit art, written and video messages sharing their own experiences of overcoming hardships, and communicating with Indigenous youth that no matter how hopeless life can feel, there is always a way forward. Since launching in October 2016, the We Matter Campaign has reached millions of people on social media and continues to be an ever-growing library of positivity and hope.
We Matter presentations and workshops are typically held in High Schools and geared towards Indigenous youth in grades 5 through 12. These presentations and workshops are meant to discuss the difficulties Indigenous youth face, introduce youth to a number of Indigenous role models and peer voices, identify strengths and coping strategies to get through tough times, and create positive messages as a part of a national movement.
We realize that many remote communities do not have reliable Internet access, so We Matter is committed to getting our video messages of hope to places where they are difficult to access. We Matter USB Sticks contain all of the current video messages and can be requested by communities.
LESSON PLANS & TOOLKITS
We Matter has created a set of 12 Lesson Plans: Indigenous Curriculum on Indigenous Hope & Strength, designed for classroom instruction grades 7-12. These are youth-accessible teachings on wellbeing from a First Nations perspective, and use the We Matter videos as a starting place for discussion.
We Matter Toolkits are interactive and youth-accessible Toolkits to empower Indigenous youth through mental health, wellness and culture. These Toolkits are made for counselors/youth workers, teachers, and youth to introduce We Matter into their homes, communities, and schools, and foster positive mental health, wellness, coping, and cultural pride. They are designed to help youth identify the strength, resilience, and healing power they and their peers already have inside of them, to overcome many of the issues that exist in their communities – and empower them to take action.
**Toolkits to be ready Winter 2018
OUR FAMILY & PARTNERS
Indigenous and youth-led, we are committed to empowering Indigenous youth through hope, culture and strength.
The We Matter Campaign was started in 2016 by brother and sister Kelvin and Tunchai Redvers. Overwhelmed by the number of suicides and other issues Indigenous youth face, they wanted to create a space that connects Indigenous youth across the country and provides support and love through an interactive multi-media format.
WE MATTER TEAM
Kelvin Redvers, Co-Founder / National Partnerships Director
is a First Nations filmmaker originally from NWT. At age 15, he started a video production company in his hometown of Hay River. His short films made during high school went on to win awards at festivals in Canada and around the world. He attended Simon Fraser University for film production, with continued success at film festivals and garnered his first national TV broadcast credit at age 21. At age 23, Redvers was hired by CTV First Story, an Aboriginal current affairs show, where the first episode he produced/directed won a prestigious Jack Webster Award (the “Oscar” of BC journalism). His narrative short The Dancing Cop premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and screened several other festivals. He worked for a year at the production company Great Pacific Media, developing several television show concepts. He’s currently working towards directing his first feature film, as well, is in talks to host a new television show on APTN. He is very connected to the Indigenous media world, and his work often touches on Aboriginal issues in a variety of forms.
Tunchai Redvers, Co-Founder / National Programs Director
is a Dene and Metis two-spirit social justice warrior, facilitator/public speaker, poet and wanderer belonging to Deninu K’ue First Nation. Born and raised in Treaty 8 Northwest Territories, she left home at 18 to pursue studies, graduating from the University of Guelph with a degree in International Development Studies and Certificate in Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship – and is currently working towards a Master of Social Work. She has spent a significant amount of time working in and with Indigenous communities across Canada and studying and volunteering abroad. By the age of 23, she been named one of MTV and WE Day’s Top 10 Drivers of Change in Canada, has been published in a number of works for her writing, is a recipient of the Lawson Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Award, and is the co-founder of We Matter. Her work and writing focuses on intergenerational trauma, LGBTQ+ and two-spirit rights, youth and women’s empowerment, creating positive narratives, and the decolonization and indigenization of identity, mental health and healing.
Linnea Dick, Social Media & Outreach Coordinator
is a writer, orator and activist from the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nisga’a and Tsimshian nations. She became involved in indigenous activism in 2013 with a conviction to create social change and help heal the injustices faced by indigenous people. Through this work, she began to heal and recognize her purpose in life – to advocate for indigenous youth, culture and sexual assault victims through public speaking. During the last two years, she worked closely with UBC, where her late father, Beau Dick, was an artist in residence. He continues to be one of the biggest inspirations in life; a strong sense of identity, integrity and dignity instilled within her. In 2015, she had a written piece published in the book Lalakenis/All Directions: A Journey of Truth and Unity, sharing her journey through activist movement “Awalaskenis” and the importance of connection to culture. Linnea continues to share her story through different avenues, and in her spare time enjoys writing, hiking, meditation and yoga. She chooses to live as her ancestors did: on the path of sobriety and with love for her community.
WE WANT YOUTH TO KNOW
They aren't alone
They carry their own strengths
They have the capacity to make change
There are coping skills they can use during difficult times
Being Indigenous is awesome and something to be proud of
Taking action can improve their communities and selves
They have skills and knowledge that can help others
WE MATTER wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support of the following organizations who believe in a world where indigenous youth have the resources to overcome hardship and struggles with mental health and suicide.
Our model of sharing messages of hope and resilience is based on the It Gets Better Project, an initiative started in the U.S. to share videos of hope and positivity with LGBTQ youth who may be contemplating suicide.