We believe Indigenous youth are healers and changemakers, and with the right support and resources, can be the ones to inspire and uplift other Indigenous youth and their communities! We Matter’s National Ambassadors of Hope is a mentorship program supporting Indigenous youth to connect, uplift, inspire, and make change.

Ambassadors of Hope are Indigenous youth ages 16-26 who share messages of hope, culture and strength within their own community and surrounding region. Using We Matter Toolkits, and with support from the We Matter team, they deliver presentations on hardship, hope, and healing across schools and communities. They live by example in order to inspire and connect with other Indigenous youth, break mental health and suicide stigma, and promote healthy communities.

Meet the 2019/2020 National Ambassadors of Hope:

Jenna Robar
Jenna Robar(she/her) 23 – Unamaki (Mi’kmaw)
Jenna Robar has been praised by the United Nations Association of Canada, the University of Toronto, and the YMCA of the Greater Toronto Area for her packed speaking events and culture-based workshops.

Matt of the YMCA raved, “it was really special and the youth have been talking a lot about it since”. Another on behalf of the United Nations Association of Canada wrote “Jenna has an amazing presence; everyone was very engaged, and the simulation resulted in some thought-provoking action plans”. As a Holistic Health Coach, Jenna focuses her work with youth on mental-wellness and living within their highest purpose.

Dani-Lee Laviolette
Dani-Lee Laviolette(she/her) 25 – Gitxsan Nation
My name is Dani-lee Laviolette. I belong to the Gitxsan Nation from Hazelton, BC. Currently living in Salmon Arm.

I work with students K-12 as an Indigenous Education Worker. Working with children has always been a passion of mine. I found an even deeper passion by being an advocate for indigenous youth. I love to help indigenous youth find confidence in themselves, and let them know that they are always cared for. I think it is also important to let them know that it’s ok to talk about their mental health, and that it’s ok to not be ok. I try to be a positive role model for my students by giving them space to talk about these issues and to always be themselves.

Autumn LaRose-Smith
Autumn LaRose-Smith(she/her) 23 – Métis
Autumn is a proud queer, Métis student who attends Saskatchewan Urban Teachers Education Program (SUNTEP) Saskatoon.

She is an active volunteer in her community and sits on the Board for Ness Creek Cultural and Recreational Society (NCCRS). Autumn was recently awarded the Young Women Leaders Award age 18-29, recognizing emerging Metis leaders who are inspirational role models in their careers, achievements or community building. Autumn is currently the Vice President of Student Affairs for the University of Saskatchewan Students Union. She previously worked as an Emergency Receiving Home Worker and is dedicated to providing trauma informed care and education.

Nicole Tornquist
Nicole Tornquist(she/her) 25 – Opaskwayak Cree Nation
Tansi, my name is Nicole Tornquist. At the age of 18, I graduated from Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute and in 2018 I graduated from the University College of the North with a Business Administration Diploma with a major in Management.

I am currently a case worker for pre-employment supports program and a certified Awaken the Spirit Facilitator. I am sitting on the community comprehensive planning committee board, am currently the junior chief within my community, have previously sat on the Opaskwayak Educational Authority Steering committee, and volunteered my time to many community activities. My passion and dream is helping the people of my community better themselves, and mentoring them to achieve their goals. Helping people is my purpose in life, I know this because the elders have called me “the gem” of my community, which I am always grateful and humble for.

River Fayant
River Fayant(he/him) 26 – Métis
Hello, my name is River Fayant and I am 26 years old. I am a two- spirit Métis trans man and I was adopted at a young age.

I am currently living in Edmonton, Alberta with my wife and 2 cats. I volunteer for numerous organizations, along with being a We Matter National Ambassador of Hope. My desire to help others is what made me want to go back to school and become a Social Worker. I enjoy hanging out with LGBTQ and two-spirit youth. I am an avid geocacher and animal rights advocate. I am also vegan and enjoy trying to cook new dishes for my wife and I.

Mallory Solomon
Mallory Solomon(she/her) 23 - Oji-Cree
My name is Mallory Solomon. I am 23 years old and I am Oji-Cree and proudly Two-Spirited. I am currently studying Psychology with a minor in Indigenous studies at Algoma University.

I am a Hope Ambassador and I advocate for mental health. I am passionate about healing our future generation and I hope to become a therapist for Indigenous youth once I complete my PhD. I am also passionate about being an advocate for youth and I speak my truth. I share my story of hardships to youth and I hope my story gives youth the inspiration to keep going at it.

Nkikaxni Grismer
Nkikaxni Grismer(she/her) 19 – Nlaka'pamux Nation
Nkikaxni is from the Nlaka’pamux nation in the interior of B.C. She is completing her diploma at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in general arts.

At NVIT she is youth representative for the Board of Governors, as well as the Education Council. Her passion is fighting for Aboriginal rights and hopes to pursue a career to help fight for equality for everyone. You can often find her on the ice playing hockey, on the ball diamond, in the box playing lacrosse, or on the field playing field lacrosse or rugby.

Santana Dreaver
Santana Dreaver(she/her) 21 – Mistawasis Nehiyawak Nation and Kinistin Saulteaux Nation
My name is Santana Dreaver. I am 21 years old with a Saulteaux and Plains Cree background. I am from both Mistawasis Nehiyawak and the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation where I was raised.

Currently I work with inner city youth, which in Saskatoon is mostly Indigenous and newcomer youth. I will be returning to my studies at the University of Saskatchewan in January to complete my final year of a Political Science degree. I have completed a certificate in Indigenous Governance & Politics and a minor in Sociology from the UofS thus far. My single greatest passions are seeing Indigenous youth thrive and Indigenous women returning to our rightful positions in leadership.

Vinnie Naistus
Vinnie Naistus(he/him) 21 – Onion Lake Cree Nation
My name is Vinnie, I’m Cree and I’m from Saskatoon. I do film photography and as well being a YouTuber. I am doing public speaking to share with people what I have gone through the years of my life, and to give the message of hope.

I work at a school and I love being involved with We Matter, I meet so many good people that share with me. My passions are my hobbies.  I had to think of what I wanted to be in life, so making films or editing to make people enjoy and laugh together.

John Peters
John Peters(he/him) 26 – Fox Lake Cree Nation
My name is John Peters, I am the son of Isabel and John Peters, Grandson to Zachariah and Beth Mayham and Stanley and Sarah Peters.

I am an Inninu Napew (Cree Man) from Makeso Sakahikan (Fox Lake.) I currently work for Fox Lake Cree Nation developing and implementing recreation and wellness programming and organizing community events. I am strongly passionate about mental health education/awareness, learning my language, indigenous youth empowerment, and health and nutrition.

Ally Freedman
Ally Freedman(she/her) 23 – Métis
Ally Freedman is a sixth-generation young Métis woman with roots in Northern Saskatchewan/Manitoba. She also has Italian and Jewish heritage.

She has a BA Honours in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. She is a passionate defender of Aboriginal/Indigenous rights and equality for all peoples. Ally has contributed in many aspects to promote diversity and inclusion for women, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups in politics. She is a powerful young woman who uses her voice to amplify the voices that are far too often ignored, especially the voices of Indigenous women.

Rosalynn Alook
Rosalynn Alook(she/her) 20 – Peerless Trout First Nation
My name is Rosalynn Alook; I am a 20 year old cree woman from Peerless Trout First Nation. I live in Peace River, where I raise a 3 year old boy named Carter Alook on my own.

My education is in social work; and I now work as a prevention/outreach specialist for KTC children and family services. I am passionate about helping others. More specifically, I am passionate about helping indigenous families and youths. Luckily, I get to do that everyday in my practice.

Rain Muchikekwanape
Rain Muchikekwanape(they/them) 23 – Norway House Cree Nation
Rain Muchikekwanape is a queer disabled musician, artist, and activist living in Winnipeg.Their family is from Norway House Cree Nation. Rain is currently a student at the University of Manitoba, studying psychology, and learning Cree.

Their goal is to be an art therapist for youth, promoting healing and hope through art and music. As an activist, Rain fights for the rights of disabled people, queer people, people of colour, women, those with mental illnesses and addictions, and those living in poverty. They believe in indigenous rights, accessibility, harm reduction, community care, and free education, healthcare, and housing. They are anti-capitalist, pro-indigenous sovereignty, and believe in the inherent worth of every individual regardless of their physical or mental capabilities.

Chyler Sewell
Chyler Sewell(she/her) 17 – Garden River First Nation
Chyler Sewell is an anishinaabekwe youth from Garden River First Nation, currently living in Hamilton Ontario. She is the eldest of five kids, and strives to be the best person she can be for them.

Chyler enjoys spending her time writing, creating fantastical worlds that Indigenous youth can see themselves in. She also enjoys organizing spaces for urban Indigenous youth in her city to gather, where they can be themselves without needing to worry about being themselves. Reclaiming and recreating community is something that holds a special place in her heart.

Natalia McArthur
Natalia McArthur(she/her) 19 – Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation
Natalia McArthur, born in Regina Saskatchewan and a member of the Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation is a feminist who believes resilience is the greatest tool for the indigenous youth.

She also believes in fighting for women and all people’s rights, action against the climate crisis and fighting for justice in a system of injustice. Natalia wants to raise awareness of the suicide rates in Indigenous communities and shed light on mental health; With love, resilience, unity, and culture she believes the youth of today will be able to create a better future for themselves and future generations to come. “It’s easy to fall down the dark path when continuously exposed to alcoholism and drug abuse but our destinies aren’t set in stone, it is something that we make our own – we must break these cycles to be able to live the lives we were meant to, not what stereotypes or statistics say.” – Natalia

Shaylene Scarrett-White Eagle
Shaylene Scarrett-White Eagle(she/her) 22 – Siksika Nation
Shaylene Scarrett-White Eagle is a proud Blackfoot young woman of Siksika Nation, a reserve that is a part of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Treaty 7 Territory.

Although unknown, Shaylene also proudly acknowledges that she has Cree roots from Manitoba and Anishinaabe roots from Ontario on her mother’s side. Throughout her younger years, she endured the effects of intergenerational trauma in her home life (i.e., poverty, abuse). However, despite her upbringing, Shaylene chose to surpass barriers to create her own life by choosing to walk the red road; by continuously making her culture the forefront of her healing and learning; and continuing with her education journey. Since Shaylene found healing in 2013, community contribution has been placed on her heart. She has contributed to promote mental health and addictions education, Indigenous inclusivity, and making the realities Indigenous communities and peoples face known. Currently, she is a student at Mount Royal University, where she is studying to attain her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree. Her long-term goal is to become a registered psychologist and work with Indigenous young people in the mental health and addictions sector.

Marshall Morrisseau
Marshall Morrisseau(he/him) 22 – Opaskwayak Cree Nation
Marshall Jack Morrisseau is a 22 year old Cree Metis man. Currently residing in his hometown Brandon Manitoba and pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree at Brandon University. His focus of studies is First Nations Studies and Political Sciences.

He works with the Brandon Bear Clan as an Outreach Worker, fulfilling the goals set out by Bear Clans Women’s Council such as Coordinating a Youth Mock Patrol. An important part of his life is culture and ceremony which helps keeps him balanced. Another important aspect is the Cree language he is learning which unfortunately didn’t get passed on growing up. Some of his interests are weightlifting, creative writing, singing, drawing and sports. For over 4 years Marshall was a child advocate, working in group homes and EPRs as a frontline worker. It is during this time that he began to develop a passion for child protection. Marshall believes that Youth are gifts from our Creator that hold wisdom and teachings that can change the world. His goals for the future are to continue to advocate for Indigenous groups in his area, learn to speak fluent Cree, finish his Undergrad studies and attend Law School at University Victoria’s Indigenous Law program.

Allyson Collicott
Allyson Collicott(she/her) 25 – Cross Lake Cree Nation
Allyson Jade Collicott, born in The Pas, Manitoba and raised in The Northern Community of Thompson, Manitoba, is an Entrepreneur, public speaker, and a proud member of Cross Lake Cree Nation.

Allyson believes we all have a purpose and that it’s important to show our youth that they matter. Growing up overcoming poverty, living around alcoholism and healing from abuse led to her passion for serving others by storytelling, mental health awareness and advocacy. Allyson is on a mission to empower youth, entrepreneurs, and leaders around the globe by demonstrating that regardless of where you come from and what you have gone through in your life, you have the power to enact change. Become who you were born to be!

Danika Vessel
Danika Vessel(she/her) 27 – Métis
Danika Vessel, was born and raised in a small community in Northern Ontario. She is a proud Métis women with mixed settler ancestry and is also a mother to a four year old boy.

Danika has completed her BA in Psychology and Indigenous Studies, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology with Yorkville University. Danika is passionate about Indigenous rights and mental health and believes that mental health services must be made available to all Indigenous peoples immediately. Danika hopes that one day she can help make mental health services easily accessible to Indigenous peoples living in remote communities and help end the stigma around mental health disorders by creating culturally appropriate practices with Elders and Indigenous communities.

Savannah Pierre-Weenie
Savannah Pierre-Weenie(she/her) 18 – Sweetgrass First Nation
Savannah Pierre-Weenie is of Cree and Okanagan lineage. She grew up in Sweetgrass First Nation, but currently resides in North Battleford Saskatchewan.

She’s 18 years old, and graduated from North Battleford Comprehensive High School (NBCHS). She is currently enrolled in the aesthetics program at the Atoskewin success centre. She Is the eldest of 8 children. Her hobbies include Painting, Photography, Beading, Dancing, and Archery. She is honoured to have had a traditional upbringing, and enjoy learning from her grandparents on both sides. She also feels very blessed to have the opportunity to be a role model to her younger siblings, cousins, and friends. She has had many opportunities to explore the world around her. She aspires to be Leader for First Nations People in the field of Education. One day, her dream is for her journey to come full circle, as she prepares to lead the next generations, they will lead her.  Hiy Hiy, nanaskomon kakiyaw!

Ernestine Beardy
Ernestine Beardy(she/her) 19 – North Caribou Lake First Nation
I’m from North Caribou Lake First Nation. I am not currently involved in anything. I have been involved in quite a few things this year, one of them was becoming an Ambassador of Hope.

My interests for becoming an Ambassador was to better my community, work with the youth and learn more things that’ll help me get on the youth council in my community.

Gage Perley
Gage Perley(he/him) 23 – Wolastoquey and Mi’kmaq
Gage Perley is a Wolastoquey and Mi’kmaq from Tobique First Nation, NB. He has his BA from St. Thomas University with a double major in Criminology and Native Studies.

Growing up, he faced challenges such as mental-health, body image issues and issues with self-acceptance. It’s a healing process that is still ongoing but he is willing to share his experience with his youth to let them know they are not alone. He’s passionate for Culture, Education, Arts, Indigenous Issues & Self-Love. He looks to empower his fellow youth and wants them to be proud of their identity and be unapologetically themselves.

Kendel Potskin
Kendel Potskin(she/her) 21 – Métis
Kendel Potskin is an Ambassador of Hope for the We Matter campaign and has been a professional Métis dancer for the Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers based out of Edmonton for 5+ years.

Kendel has taught over 100 cultural workshops and performed in over 75 different communities with the Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers. Kendel is a role-model and advocate for Indigenous youth whom, over the course of her 5-year career, has developed a skill set directly relevant to teach about Hope, Culture and Strength, including creative thinking, leadership, and lesson planning. Overall, Kendel has consistently demonstrated her abilities as a public figure and as a Youth Worker for East Haven Home, Youth Career Motivator for East Prairie Métis Settlement, and an Executive Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator for the Alberta Indigenous Games; all of which are Indigenous owned and operated businesses.

Mary Modeste
Mary Modeste(she/her) 21 – First Nations
Gabrielle Jubinville
Gabrielle Jubinville(she/her) 23 – Enoch Cree Nation
My name is Gabrielle Dawn Jubinville, I am from Enoch Cree Nation. Born and raised in Edmonton, AB.

I am currently residing in Brandon, MB going to Brandon University, majoring in Sociology:mainstream Crime and Community and Minoring in Native Studies. What got me here is basketball and travelling to various countries from New York, Mississippi, and now here in Brandon. And lots of ceremony and family that got me through life living a healthy lifestyle. I currently took time off basketball and pursuing my education because my life goal is to give back to society.

Aarianna Roberts
Aarianna Roberts(she/her) 17 – Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation
Aarianna Roberts is a 17 year old Indigenous youth born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but raised and living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She is currently completing the 12th grade and hopes to carry on her studies at York University in Toronto.

She is very passionate about anti-racism, public speaking, and leadership and advocacy. She uses her platform as the Co-President of the Regional Multicultural Youth Council to share her voice and help others feel comfortable sharing theirs too! Aarianna has also participated in the Miss North Ontario Regional Canada Pageant where she used her platform to bring awareness to issues faced by Indigenous communities. She hopes to do the same through her role as an Ambassador of Hope!

Rhiannon Dussion
Rhiannon Dussion(she/her) 18 – Cumberland House Cree Nation
Rhiannon Dussion is of Cree and Ojibway background from Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.

Her culture and background as an Indigenous person is a part of her life that she is extremely proud to have knowledge about, especially her family roots in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation in Northern Ontario. She is 18 years old and currently attends the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, majoring in Indigenous Studies.  Her plan after school is to pursue a career in Law, specifically involving the justice system for Indigenous people. Her main hobbies include beading and boxing; a sport where she has been not only an athlete but a coach recently as well. Being the eldest of three children, and a coach at her boxing club has her in various leadership roles at home and in the community, and being apart of We Matter adds to that which is extremely humbling and she is proud to be able to represent her hometown.

Kevin Good
Kevin Good(he/him) 26 – Snuneymuxw
Crystal Lewis
Crystal Lewis(she/her) 26 – Squamish
Justin Tobin
Justin Tobin(he/him) – Qalipu Mi'Kmaq Nation
Diana Charlie-Iraheta
Diana Charlie-Iraheta(she/her) 20 – Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda
Gilakasla, Nugwa’a̱m Hamdzid gayu’tła̱n lax̱ ‘Nakwaxda’xw dłu Gwa’Sala. My GST name is Diana Charlie-Iraheta. I am 20 years old and I am half Gwa’Sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw and I’m half Salvadorian.

I was born and raised in Burnaby, BC. When I was 18 I decided to move back to my hometown of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. This was one of my best decisions I’ve made. My time being home I’ve gotten to learn my culture, traditions, and language. After years of being “lost” in the city I finally feel at peace within myself at home.

Lou Kopak
Lou Kopak(he/him) 18 – Inuk
Rianna Flett
Rianna Flett(she/her) 18 – Oji-Cree
Rianna Flett is a Oji-Cree young woman who grew up in four different reservations such as Fisher River, Peguis First Nation, Fox Lake, and Nelson House, but is currently residing in her home reserve, Peguis.

She is 18 years of age and is currently attending Peguis Adult Education Program to get her high-school GED. She plans on going to secondary school next year to get a business diploma and to go to a language class in which she can learn Cree. Rianna is interested in doing creative artwork, reading, and creative writing such as stories, poems, and Hip-Hop lyrics. She aspires to create Hip-Hop music in the future and to open her own business in selling art and clothing. She is passionate about inspiring and empowering others through her artwork, words and voice. Rianna wants to help the youth realize they’re not alone through whatever struggles they may face and to bring the youth up. She wants to use her story of substance abuse, alcohol abuse, self harm, mental health issues and recovery to inspire others that they too can make a change within themselves and to never give up.

Are you an Indigenous youth who is dedicated to promoting hope and life within your community and region!?

We Matter recruits new National Ambassadors every spring!

What does it take to be an Ambassador of Hope?

To be an Ambassador of Hope, you need to be an Indigenous (Métis, Inuit or First Nations) youth between the ages of 16 and 26 who is ready and dedicated to promoting hope and life within your region. You will need to attend a week-long We Matter & Facebook #HopeForum: National Ambassadors of Hope Training, commit to the program for a minimum of one year, and take an independent lead within your own region. The program is a mentorship with some opportunity to receive compensation.

How can I be an Ambassador of Hope?

Applications to become a National Ambassador of Hope will open here Spring 2020. There will be three components to the application process – written application, video submission, and an interview with the We Matter team. We’re looking forward to meeting Indigenous youth who want to use their voices to create change!

Email hopeambassadors@wemattercampaign.org for questions or to invite an Ambassador of Hope to deliver a Hope, Culture, Strength Session in your area.