The heart of the Moose Hide Campaign is the pin – a small square of moose hide that we offer as a medicine for a social illness impacting all Canadians – namely domestic and gender-based violence against women and children, and particularly indigenous women and children – and it acts as a symbol of solidarity in standing up against violence towards women and children in Canada.
Co-founders Raven and Paul Lacerte were inspired to start the Moose Hide Campaign on an annual moose-hunt eleven years ago. The hunt took place on their traditional territory along the Highway of Tears in British Columbia, where so many Indigenous women were murdered or went missing.
Wearing the moose hide pin signifies a commitment to honour, respect and protect the women and children in your life and speak out against gender-based and domestic violence. The pin is a symbol of connection, concern and solidarity.
“Many Canadians don’t know how to take the first step towards ending this kind of violence, and towards healing and reconciliation,” said Dominic Paul, the campaign’s National Ambassador who is also responsible for overseeing the pin production.
“The small, humble piece of moose hide is a concrete way to spark conversations and build personal and collective commitment and capacity to address this critical issue.”
A gift of medicine
The devastating truth is that half of all women in this country have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. For Indigenous women, spousal violence is three times higher than for non-Indigenous women.
The moose hide pins are considered as little piece of land medicine and a gift to any and all Canadians who are called to help create a country safe for all women and children and those along the gender continuum. Moose nourish their bodies by eating leaves, bark and twigs from trees and shrubs on the land. They breathe fresh air and drink from clear streams. The campaign chose moose hide because it connects us all to the land, culture and to each other.
“The moose hide pins ground us, feed our spirit, inspire us, and most of all, they heal us,” continued Paul.
Crafted from the heart
The process of crafting the pins is an Indigenous-led initiative.
First, the pins are cut from tanned moose hide at the Pat Bay Leather Company in North Saanich. Vern Théroux, a Métis from northern Alberta, owns and runs the company, and has been leatherworking since 1974.
Once cut, the squares are taken to local Indigenous people who pair the pins with printed cards which explain the significance of wearing the pins. This work helps those in the community who are under-employed.
As well, many people who work with the pins at this stage have either witnessed or been impacted directly by gender-based violence. Working on the campaign in such a tangible way can be empowering for those who have endured this kind of violence.
Over 15 million conversations
Last year, the Moose Hide Campaign celebrated gifting its three millionth pin.
Each pin sparks at least five conversations about standing up against violence towards women and children. That means, so far, over 15 million conversations have been started.
The three millionth pin was presented to the Honourable Murray Sinclair in April 2022, former member of the Canadian Senate and Indigenous lawyer who served as chairman of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
By April of this year, the campaign is on track to have distributed four million pins, showing just how many Canadians are joining forces to end gender-based violence.
A step towards reconciliation
Wearing and sharing the moose hide pin is a way that each, and every Canadian can take a small step on our Nation’s journey towards truth and reconciliation. we hope it helps carry forward and honours the vision set out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice.
It’s also a concrete measurable way that every Canadian can take to address violence against women and children and begin healing our devastating past with Indigenous peoples.
Order your pins
With the annual Moose Hide Campaign Day taking place May 11, 2023 now is the perfect time to order your pins to ensure you get them in time.
Pins come in batches of 25, and we encourage everyone to order extra for both wearing and sharing. Pins made from artificial material are also available if you do not wish to have natural leather.
The pins are a free gift of medicine to all those who share in the vision of a country that is free of gender-based violence. For those individuals and organizations interested in supporting the production and distribution of pins, you can make a donation on the Moose Hide Campaign web site.
For Dominic Paul, the moose hide pin has come to represent a practical way to make meaningful change in our country.
“Domestic violence affects too many of our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and friends. Wearing a moose pin shows that you stand in solidarity against this preventable violence, and that you’re committed to bringing light to an issue that thrives in the dark.”