Moose Hide Campaign hits millionth pin

Wednesday was a day of fasting and gathering at the UNBC First Nations Centre as Moose Hide campaign events were the order of the day.

The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men who are standing up against violence towards women and children.

There was a full day of presentations including Christina Draegen, regional manager, Native Court Workers; Joe Roberts of the Moose Hide Campaign; Tannis Reynolds of the Stellat’en First Nation; Vince Prince who gave a guided walk of the UNBC pit house; Derek Orr, business manager for Carrier Lumber and former chief of the McLeod Lake Indian Band; and Elizabeth Same of Nak’azdki Whut’en.

There was also a film With Dad: Strengthening the Circle of Care, at the Fire Pit.

Premier John Horgan joined Moose Hide Campaign officials in Victoria today to hand out the one millionth moose hide pin, representing one million people standing together to end violence against women and children.

The Moose Hide Campaign, now in its eighth year, is a B.C.-born, grassroots campaign to support men standing up and addressing violence. The campaign is symbolized by the moose hide patch, which signals support and commitment to change.

“Our government is proud to be part of the Moose Hide Campaign. As men and allies, we need to speak out and be vigilant to make sure our actions and our words do not perpetuate a culture of violence,” said Horgan. “To know that one million people are standing together to end violence against women and children gives us hope that change, and a better future for women and girls, is possible.”

B.C. also proclaimed today, Feb. 15, 2018, Moose Hide Campaign Day, underscoring its commitment to take action to improve the lives of all British Columbians.

“It’s not enough to say that violence against women and children is unacceptable — words have to be followed by actions,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “These actions are a shared responsibility, and by standing with grassroots movements like the Moose Hide Campaign, we can help address the many social concerns facing our communities around the province.”

To mark today’s event, men from throughout the province are gathering in Victoria for a day of fasting, ceremony, workshops and healing circles to support each other in finding solutions to end violence. Regional events are also taking place in Kamloops and Prince George.

One of the highlights of the day is a march from the Victoria Conference Centre to the steps of the B.C. Parliament Buildings for a public sharing of stories and thoughts on how to address violence against women and children. Members of the B.C. legislature gathered on the steps to stand in solidarity with the Moose Hide Campaign Day participants and add their voices to the campaign.

“Indigenous women are three times more likely to suffer domestic abuse than non-Indigenous women. Violence in any form is not acceptable, and it’s an issue we’re determined to address,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We can’t do it on our own, but by supporting partners like the Moose Hide Campaign, who are working at the community level, I believe that we can change things for the better.”

Members of the B.C. public service and the legislature showed their support by taking part in a ceremonial fast, which is an integral part of the campaign’s focus. The fast is a show of sacrifice to demonstrate empathy with women who endure violence, and for fasters to demonstrate the strength of their commitment. The extent of an individual’s participation in the fast is related to their personal health needs.

“It is our hope and belief that the Moose Hide Campaign is having a real and positive impact in the lives of women and children across Canada, and that it is also resulting in healing and behavior change amongst men and boys,” said Paul Lacerte, co-founder and CEO of the Moose Hide Campaign. “Our hands are raised in gratitude and respect to the Province of B.C., and to each and every person across Canada who has participated in this effort to end violence against women and children. We have reached our goal of one million moose hide squares. Now let us begin the journey towards 10 million.”

Public servants who attend the full-day Moose Hide Campaign Day proceedings are also using the experience as professional development in reconciliation and cross-cultural agility. It is part of government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the public service.

Since it began in 2011, the Moose Hide Campaign has grown into a Canada-wide movement, and is now recognized annually on Oct. 5 each year by the federal government. In addition to raising awareness through the moose hide patches, the campaign has widened its scope to embrace other anti-violence efforts — such as the Ten Men Challenge, designed to engage young men in conversations about violence, and the Safe Space, Safe Place program, aimed at ending violence against women on university campuses.