The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Men 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?
This is a question that has been raised many times and in many different contexts since the Campaign was founded in 2011. Here are the questions that have been raised and what we have learned so far in answering them:
Q: Can women wear the Moose Hide Square?
A: Yes. Women and girls are more than welcome to wear the Moose Hide square. While the target of the Campaign is to activate men and boys, it is not intended to be exclusive or divisive. The Moose Hide is intended to be a conversation starter, and when women wear the hide it often sparks powerful conversations about the change we are all working towards.
Q: How will the Moose Hide Campaign ensure that their efforts do not re-enforce and/or perpetuate patriarchy and gender inequality?
A: In order to answer this question, Moose Hide Campaign representatives participated in a retreat with female leaders and matriarchs and explored strategies to address this question. The guidance from the women leaders at that retreat was for the Moose Hide Campaign to establish a “Wise Aunties Council” of women leaders from across the country. The role of the Wise Aunties Council is to over-see and guide the work of the Moose Hide Campaign and to ensure its’ integrity.
Q: Why is the Moose Hide Campaign targeting men specifically?
A: Men’s violence against women and inequality towards women has been an unacceptable reality for generations. Yet men are largely absent in the effort to end violence against women and children. For decades, women have been in the forefront of the effort to end domestic violence, gender based violence, and inequality. It is time for men to join this effort and to take a stand against violence towards women.
Q:Why are men invited to Fast?
A: Men are invited to Fast for 3 reasons. First, it is to humble ourselves. If our society is going to shift away from patriarchy and gender inequality then 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. 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. Most old cultures Fast when there are important matters at hand.
Q: Can women participate in the Fast?
A: Yes. Women and girls are more than welcome to participate in the Fast. While a central goal of the Campaign is to engage men and boys to Fast, it is not intended to be exclusive or divisive. We are currently only tracking male participants in the Fast on the Registration page.
Q:Why are women invited to act as “Witnesses” during the Fast?
A:Fasting can be a very personal and powerful experience and it can often be challenging for those individuals participating in it. Sometimes Fasting can bring up deep emotions and leave individuals feeling vulnerable and open. This is a good thing as the Fasting process is intended to facilitate healing and personal growth. The role of the Witness is to provide love and support to the people that are Fasting, and to give them positive encouragement. It is also the role of the Witness to observe the individuals that are Fasting and to give them positive feedback about the effort they are making to effect positive change. As well, witnesses are asked to share what they have observed with their families, friends, organizations, and communities following the Fast.
Q: How are women involved in the production of the Moose Hide Squares?
A: The Moose Hide squares are cut and pinned to the cards exclusively by Indigenous women. This is a social enterprise, as Indigenous women are employed by the Moose Hide Campaign to create and share our main product.