Over 1000 men participated in a national event in Ottawa this past October to fast, wear moose hide patches, rally together and talk about how they can contribute to ending violence against women and children.
“The Moose Hide Campaign is something that I think is supported by a lot of parliamentarians and a lot of other people around the country,” explained Robert Falcon Ouellette, Liberal MP for Winnipeg Centre and a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation.
According to Ouellette, this Indigenous-led initiative began in 2011, when Prince George, BC, residents, Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven, were moose hunting along the Highway of Tears – the northern route that is notorious for the number of Indigenous women and girls who have disappeared there. After they shot a moose, Raven suggested tanning the hide and using it to make patches intended to inspire men to get involved in a movement to end violence towards women and children.
Seven years later, this has become a national movement. The October event involved several MPs, RCMP officers, government workers, and leaders from all walks of life.
“In this case, it is something that is led by men and for men because we think that we are part of the problem and we are also the solution. In this we are not only trying to change our behaviour, we are trying to improve it,” said Ouellette.
Participants later gathered at the Shaw Centre to discuss what they personally could do to contribute to the cause. Ouellette added that this was important because people were coming from such different walks of life and had so many ways to contribute. He gave the example of a museum worker who became inspired to create a moose hide display at the Canadian History Museum.
“When I was talking to an RCMP officer, he spoke about the types of training programs that they could conduct on reporting domestic violence, and the way that they approach a situation,” said Ouellette. “He asked if it was appropriate to each culture. Had they really listened to the person who had said that they have had violence committed against them? And, what were they going to be doing with that information?”
While everyone left the event with a new commitment, Ouellette believes events like this one should be carried in communities across the country, and promised that the Moose Hide Campaign would be there to help.
For more info or order a kit for your community, go to: www.moosehidecampaign.ca