ORGANIZING A MOOSE HIDE CAMPAIGN EVENT
Since the Moose Hide Campaign (MHC) began in 2011 there have been hundreds of Moose Hide Campaign events across Canada. The vast majority of these events have been self-organized at the community or organizational level with little or no direct engagement with the Moose Hide Campaign organization. This is great news.
Key to the vision of the Moose Hide Campaign is that individuals become inspired to do something about the tragic reality of gender based and domestic violence and find their own ways of sharing the campaign with their friends, families, communities and organizations. And this is what continues to happen all across Canada.
If you are thinking of hosting a Moose Hide Campaign event, know that very successful events have been held in all kinds of contexts and ways, from a small group of men coming together, to hundreds of people gathering for the day.
Below are some elements that in our experience have proved instrumental in organizing successful MHC events. We encourage organizers to draw upon their own experience and local knowledge to create events that are truly meaningful and relevant for participants in honouring the spirit of the campaign.
Effective event planning and coordination, along with these foundational elements, will help ensure your MHC event is a great success:
- Learning: campaign events are an opportunity to learn about domestic and gender-based violence and how people can help prevent them. They are also cross-cultural learning opportunities to build understanding of Indigenous cultures. Learning can take place in many ways, including through Elder teachings, workshops on a range of topics, and group discussion.
- Experiential: Moose Hide Campaign events have the capacity to impact people on a deeper level because participants are engaged in various practices such as fasting, witnessing, ceremony, sitting in circle, etc. MHC events can be a transforming experience for participants.
- Culture: The Moose Hide Campaign is rooted in Indigenous culture and the spirit of Reconciliation. Respect for local protocols, Elder guidance and Indigenous practices will help ensure the intent of the day is well carried and the safety of all participants. This also honours the memory of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and all those who continue to be affected by domestic and gender-based violence.
- Partnerships: Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from all sectors including members of the local nations helps build meaningful relationships and promotes reconciliation. Everyone is welcome at Moose Hide Campaign events.
Preparations for the day will vary depending on the type of event you are organizing. If you are planning a small gathering in your office, preparations will be relatively simple. This can be as simple as taking the time to acknowledge the Moose Hide Campaign’s mandate to help end violence towards women and children and honouring those who are fasting in your office. You can also come together as a group and share (e.g. in circle) why you believe it’s important to address domestic and gender-based violence.
- Learn about the campaign and order pins: start by reviewing our website for information and ordering your moose hide pins. We offer moose hide pins free of charge, including shipping to anyone who is committed to wearing the moose hide pins and sharing the vision. You can order your moose hide pins (including animal-free versions) from our website at https://moosehidecampaign.ca/index.php/get-involved/order-pins-and-cards.
- Invitations: Clearly communicate the date and time of the event and your purpose for gathering. Consider inviting a diverse group of attendees, since the Moose Hide Campaign is an Indigenous Innovation for all Canadians and a way for individuals and diverse groups to come together around a common cause, namely the protection and care of woman and children.
- Location: Identify a suitable location for the number of participants, including adequate seating, especially if Elders are present. Consider setting up chairs in circle for group discussion; have access to a computer (with wifi and a projector and audio) if you wish to watch the live stream of the opening ceremony and key note speakers in Victoria.
- Local Nation(s) and protocols: We recommend that you request the participation of local First Nations, and see if it is appropriate for them to do any cultural protocols, processes or ceremonies that will support the event and its participants, especially for public and larger events. We recommend reaching out to local First Nations and Indigenous organizations for a number of important reasons: to acknowledge that the event will happen in their traditional territory; seek their blessing/ support for the event; obtain their engagement and if appropriate, their partnership in the event; any other reasons that might become apparent as you move forward with planning.
As you do this, it is important to understand any expectations and or approaches that ensure this work is done in a good way. For example, in some communities, tobacco is offered when asking for cultural help. Often elders will be engaged to support the event in various ways, such as opening protocols/prayer etc. Knowing how to support them and honour them for their work (e.g. honorarium) is different for different communities, so some upfront work is needed to learn the best way to approach this part of the event development. It is always best to ask for help if you don’t know.
- Fasting, snacks and refreshments: For our annual events, we challenge men to Fast for the day, going without food or water from sunrise to sunset. If you are interested in doing a fast, we recommend you review the fasting guide on our website. We also recommend you seek the guidance of cultural leaders/elders to support you through the process. Snacks and refreshments for non-fasters as appropriate is always welcomed and to break the fast at sun-down for those fasting.
- Agenda to guide the day’s activities: We recommend having a host person who can open the day and facilitate the event and introduce different components of the day. Larger MHC events usually have at least one “key note” speaker who can share experiences and insights with those gathered. This helps to develop a better understanding of the issue(s) and supports both insight and inspiration. We also recommend having some way for people to share and participate at the events. For many events, this looks like talking/healing circles. When we hold Moose Hide Campaign events we hold men’s and woman’s sharing circles (can be separate circles so there is as much safety as possible). We suggest having experienced facilitators who are skilled in hosting sharing/talking circles. We also recommend having a clear process, time structure and simple guiding question to help support the circles. We do not recommend making this a “therapeutic” process, but more a sharing of why this campaign is important to each individual in the circle. At our events, we do ask trained counselors and cultural support people like elders to attend to offer support to anyone during the day.
- We recommend you also have a clear process for ending the day and for thanking everyone for their participation. This can be done with the support of local elders, sponsors, or anyone who wants to help bring the event to a close. Take time to celebrate together, however that looks. Organizing a Moose Hide Campaign event is a way for individuals to connect, support and create the kinds of communities and organizations where all people of all genders, races, cultures and ages are safe. Something indeed to stop and honour and celebrate.
At the Moose Hide Campaign we hear of many amazing, innovative and highly successful Moose Hide Campaign events happening all across Canada and now internationally and we are encouraged and honoured when individuals become champions for the campaign within their communities and organizations.