THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CAMPAIGN
The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children. Wearing the Moose Hide signifies your commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in your life and to work together with other men to end violence against women and children. This is a powerful idea and a commitment that is long over-due. But what about the role of Women in the Moose Hide Campaign?
Woman have overwhelmingly borne the effects of domestic and gender-based violence, as well as the burden of advocacy to address these issues, which has become a national crisis. This is particularly true for Indigenous women and girls, who are at significantly higher risk of violence than non-Indigenous Canadians.
The Moose Hide Campaign was created as a way to engage men in efforts to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. As men took up the challenge to wear the moose hide and participate in ceremonial fasting events, so too did many women become involved. As a result, both the campaign and the role of women in the campaign have evolved. While the campaign still focuses on engaging men, it has grown to engage all Canadians in ending gender-based and domestic violence against woman and children.
Having been co-founded by Raven Lacerte and been guided by a "circle of wise aunties", the Moose Hide Campaign has always benefited from strong female Indigenous guidance and leadership.
Below are a few questions about the role of women in the Moose Hide Campaign that have been raised and what we have learned so far in answering them:
Q: Can women wear the Moose Hide Square?
Yes. Women and girls are encouraged to wear the moose hide. We invite all people who care about this issue to wear the moose hide pins in their day-to-day lives and be open to sharing about the campaign when asked about them. The moose hide is intended to be a conversation starter, and women wearing the hide often sparks powerful conversations about the change we are all working towards. We have given out over 1 Million moose hide pins. If for each pin worn, only one conversation is sparked, that means that Canadians have now had over 1 Million conversations about ending violence that would otherwise not have happened. Our goal is to distribute 10 Million moose hide pins in the coming years.
Q: Why is the Moose Hide Campaign targeting men specifically?
While the campaign agrees that all forms of violence are unacceptable regardless of gender, we are keenly aware that violence against women and children has been an unacceptable reality for generations. Women have been at the forefront of efforts to end domestic violence, gender-based violence, and inequality, and men have largely been absent in these efforts. It is time for men to join these efforts and work together to encourage a culture of healthy masculinity.
Q: Why are men invited to Fast?
Most ancient cultures from around the world fast when there are important matters at hand. Here’s what some of the male organizers of the Moose Hide Campaign have shared: “Men are invited to fast for three reasons. First, it is to humble ourselves. If our society is going to shift away from patriarchy and gender inequality, then we as men will need to humble ourselves. Refraining from eating and drinking for a day is one way to embrace and practice humility. Second, Fasting is a ceremony that leads to healing. Many men are in pain and trapped in a society with few options and limited supports to help them heal. Fasting is a pathway to healing, and we believe that healing amongst men will reduce instances of violence against women and children. Third, Fasting is a sign that men are serious about making this change. It is more than words, it is a personal commitment to change as an individual and to effect change as a collective.” And while a central goal of the campaign is to encourage men and boys to fast, all people are welcome to fast as well. The campaign is not intended to be exclusive or divisive.
Q: How do women participate in Moose Hide Campaign events?
The Moose Hide Campaign has always benefited from strong female Indigenous guidance and leadership, having been co-founded by Raven Lacerte, a young Indigenous woman whose traditional First Nations territory is crossed by the infamous Highway of Tears. Her vision and spirit continue to guide the campaign and its efforts. Other women also play important roles in the campaign, including as ceremonial witnesses for events, keynote speakers, and cultural leaders and advisors. Campaign events now include women’s circles which run alongside men’s circles and workshops specifically for women; these will be ongoing features of Moose Hide Campaign events in the future.
Q: How are women involved in the production of the Moose Hide Squares?
All moose hide squares come from traditional hunters who hunt moose for food and ceremonial purposes, or from animals who have died in road accidents. No animals are hunted specifically to supply hides for the Moose Hide Campaign. The patches are produced with care by Indigenous women who are deeply committed to the protection of women and children and who value the living origins of the patches. Making the patches provides a valuable source of income for the women involved.