We are in constant reminder that violence is still very alive and well. We still have a long road ahead to reach reconciliation but united, it’s possible to take the practical steps needed. On May 12, take a stand against violence towards Indigenous women and children by getting involved in the Moose Hide Campaign. Moose Hide Campaign Day is in its eleventh year and is a day of ceremony inviting all Canadians to come together to end violence against all Indigenous women and children.
“It is a call-to-action for Indigenous and non-Indigenous boys and men,” says Monica Fisher, President of the Métis Association and a support worker in the Indigenous Education program at David Thompson Secondary School. “There is a free event happening online that everyone can participate in.”
Through the assistance of traditional Knowledge Keepers Moose Hide Campaign will be held online. It was originally set to be on Feb.10 of this year but due to the risks of the Omicron wave to the health and safety of families, communities, and supporters, it was postponed and will now happen next Thursday, May 12. This campaign began through the initiative of men and boys’ intent on raising awareness of the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and children. Now it’s a national ceremony. 2021 marked Moose Hide Campaign’s first virtual gathering in entirety and over 80,000 people joined in for the live streams and workshops.
The thought of violence against women and children is enough to turn anyone’s stomach. In the efforts to raise awareness the Moose Hide Campaign drops the challenge to boys and men while inviting all Canadians to fast from sunrise to sunset on this day. Fasters will receive support throughout the day on their journey. It is through this journey that the campaign hopes to deepen a shared experience while creating safer families, communities and a country for all women and children.
The Indigenous co-founders of the Moose Hide Campaign are father and daughter Paul and Raven Lacerte. They found inspiration while hunting in their traditional Carrier territory. Paul is part of the Carrier Nation in BC. The Carrier nation has lifeways in common with the Northwest Coast First Nations along the Pacific Coast as well as with the Plateau First Nations south of them along the Columbia River. After harvesting a moose Paul and his daughter Raven had the idea to tan it and cut it into squares to inspire change hence creating the Moose Hide Pin.
Indigenous people have always had a sacred connection with the natural world since time immemorial. Moose have always represented an important source of food and clothing for Indigenous communities and for many non-Indigenous communities. Their hide has been used for ceremonial purposes and for making moccasins, jackets, gloves, and rope among other things for many past generations and is associated with gentleness, comfort, hope, and love.
“We do have Moose Hide pins available, and you can order them online for free as well as participate in the virtual event,” says Fisher. “I believe here at David Thompson Secondary School a few of the classrooms have not only ordered pins but have registered for the event as well.” The power of a pin, just like different shades of ribbon wearing a Moose Hide pin is a conversation starter and a way to raise awareness.
Wearing these pins are a visual reminder and a mechanism for accountability. It is not uncommon to see them on the labels of politicians or represented by musicians and others in the media. Since the start of this campaign over 2.5 million people in Canada, the US and beyond now wear them with pride. The Moose Hide Campaign aims to have distributed 10 million squares by 2023.
For more information on how to order your pin, attend the virtual event and even fast for the day in an effort to raise awareness against violence against Indigenous women and children visit MooseHideCampaign.ca. David Thompson Secondary School is located on the unceded and crossover territories of the Secwépemc and Ktunaxa People and on the land chosen as home by the Metis Peoples of BC which runs along the Columbia River.
Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer