The Moose Hide campaign celebrated an important milestone Thursday in Winnipeg by handing out its three millionth moose hide pin to former TRC commissioner Murray Sinclair.
“I am so very proud that you have included me in this moment,” said Murray.
Founded in 2011 by Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven, the Indigenous-led Moose Hide campaign was put together as a way for men and boys to raise awareness of violence against women and children.
The pair were hunting together on their traditional Carrier territory close to the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, where so many women, particularly Indigenous women, have gone missing or been murdered.
They brought down a moose that would help feed the family for the winter and decided to use its hide to create the very first moose hide pins.
The Honourable Murray Sinclair, former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had a strong message for men.
“Even if you’re not an abuser, even if you’re not the one doing this, you have a responsibility to stop it. You have a responsibility to stand up and stand between your sisters and whoever might be abusing her. You have to protect those that you love as well so don’t be afraid to do that. Never be afraid to stand up for your sisters and nieces, daughters, granddaughters because they need you,” Sinclair said.
The gifting of the pin to Sinclair is an important milestone but as he points out, there is more work to do.
“We have only begun to touch the surface when we are at three million. We have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Thursday’s gifting of the three millionth pin reinforced the importance of the pins, and the message they hope to spark.
“If you wear this hide you promise not to harm the women and children in your life. To be personally accountable and mutually accountable to those in your family and your community and across this country. I think it represents the pillars of respect and what it means to practice good medicine,” said Moose Hide campaign national ambassador Sage Lecerte.
The presentation was in advance of Moose Hide campaign day which takes place on May. 12 and so far, over 300,000 people are registered for the virtual event. People participating in the campaign are also invited to participate in a fast if they choose to do so.
“We are trying to bring awareness to the crises of gender-based and domestic violence in Canadian society at large and particularly the impact on Indigenous women and girls and children in Canadian society by shining this light if you will into that darkness,” said Moose Hide campaign CEO, David Stevenson.
“Domestic violence, gender-based violence, just like colonialism requires us not to talk about it and not to confront the facts and so the first step is let’s confront the reality and the second step is let’s talk about it and let’s start those conversations.”
Statistics Canada released a study Tuesday showing that First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls still experience physical and sexual violence at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous women.