By Chadd Cawson
Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative
We are constantly reminded that violence is still alive and well. We still have a long way to go to achieve reconciliation, but united it is possible to take the necessary practical steps. On May 12, take a stand against violence against Indigenous women and children by getting involved in the Moose Hide campaign. Now in its eleventh year, Moose Hide Campaign Day is a ceremonial day for all Canadians to come together to end violence against Indigenous women and children.
“This is a call to action for Indigenous and non-Indigenous boys and men,” says Monica Fisher, president of the Metis Association and support worker for the David High School Indigenous Education Program. Thompson. “There is a free online event that anyone can attend.”
With the help of traditional knowledge keepers, the Moose Hide campaign will be held online. It was originally scheduled to take place on February 10 this year, but due to the risks of the Omicron wave to the health and safety of families, communities and supporters, it has been postponed and will now take place next Thursday, May 12. This campaign began as an initiative of men and boys wanting to raise awareness of the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and children. It is now a national ceremony. 2021 marked the first virtual rally for the Moose Hide Campaign in its entirety and over 80,000 people joined in live streams and workshops.
The thought of violence against women and children is enough to turn anyone’s stomach. As part of awareness efforts, the Moose Hide campaign challenges boys and men while calling on all Canadians to fast from sunrise to sunset on this day. Fasting people will be accompanied 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 hunting in their traditional Carrier territory. Paul is from Carrier Nation in British Columbia. The Carrier Nation shares ways of life 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 came up with the idea of tanning and cutting it into squares to inspire change, creating the Moose Hide Pin.
Indigenous peoples have had a sacred connection to the natural world since time immemorial. Moose have always been an important source of food and clothing for Aboriginal communities and for many non-Aboriginal communities. Their skin has been used for ceremonial purposes and to make moccasins, jackets, gloves and rope among other things for many generations past and is associated with softness, comfort, hope and love. .
“We have Moose Hide pins available, and you can order them online for free and participate in the virtual event,” says Fisher. “I believe here at David Thompson High School, a few of the classes not only ordered pins, but also signed up for the event.” The power of a pin, much like different shades of ribbon wearing a Moose Hide pin, is a conversation starter and a way to raise awareness.
Wearing these pins is a visual reminder and accountability mechanism. It is not uncommon to see them on the labels of politicians or portrayed by musicians and the like in the media.
Since the beginning of this campaign, more than 2.5 million people in Canada, the United States and elsewhere 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 High School is located on the unceded and Crusader territories of the Secwepemc and Ktunaxa peoples and on the lands chosen as home by the Métis peoples of British Columbia along the Columbia River.
Chadd Cawson sa Local Journalism Initiative Reporter who works for THE COLUMBIA VALLEY PIONEER. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive funding from the LJI government.
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