The question has been raised on a number of occasions as to why we use Moose Hide as the symbol for the Moose Hide Campaign and how it is associated to ending violence against women and children. The Moose Hide Campaign is open to receiving questions as one of the main objectives of the Campaign is to generate respectful dialogue.
The answers to this question are as follows:
1. The inspiration for the Moose Hide Campaign came during a hunting trip between an Indigenous man and his daughter
The Moose Hide Campaign was born during a hunting trip between an Indigenous man named Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven. They were hunting along the "Highway of Tears", a stretch of highway in northern BC where many women have been murdered or gone missing. They harvested a moose and as the daughter was preparing it, they had a moment of inspiration to tan the moose hide and cut it into squares to engage men in efforts to end violence against women and children. The inspiration came from the land, from the loving relationship between the father and daughter, from the stretch of highway where violence has taken so many loved ones, and from the spirit of the moose.
2. The Moose Hide Campaign is an Indigenous innovation being shared for the benefit of all Canadians
Indigenous peoples have had a deep and sacred connection with the natural world since time immemorial. This relationship has always included harvesting practices such as hunting, fishing, plant gathering, berry picking, etc. Many protocols and teachings have been passed down through the generations which guide these harvesting practices and which ensure that principles of respect, gratitude, sustainability, and reciprocity are honoured. In this context, Moose have always represented an important source of food and clothing for Indigenous communities and for many non-Indigenous communities. For many generations moose hide was used for ceremonial purposes and for making moccasins, jackets, gloves, rope, etc. It is associated with gentleness, warmth, comfort, hope, and love. The use of the moose hide for this Campaign honours this sacred relationship and keeps the traditional protocols and teachings of our Elders alive.
3. Moose hides are ethically sourced and produced
Currently all the 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.
4. The Moose Hide Campaign honours the beliefs of those that do not agree with hunting and those that chose not to wear Moose Hide
The Moose Hide Campaign has received many messages from individuals who support the effort to end violence against women and children but do not support the use of moose hide. In response, the Moose Hide Campaign produces animal-free Naugahyde (synthetic) squares for individuals who would like to participate in the Campaign but choose not to wear a moose hide. Some individuals also create their own cloth squares and wear them in solidarity with the goal of ending violence against women and children.