The Moose Hide Campaign partnered with the University of Alberta First People’s House, in conjunction with the Sexual Assault Centre on campus launched the initiative, Portraits of Indigenous Masculinities. This project hosted several events during Sexual Assault Awareness Week in February 2019 in order to:
- Generate further awareness of, and interest in, the Moose Hide campaign on the University of Alberta campus
- Encourage community members to support women and children and speak out against the violence perpetrated against them.
- Engage men in the community in conversations about violence and accountability.
- Provide a platform for discussion about Indigenous masculinities.
- Promote the distribution of Moose Hide squares in Edmonton, Alberta.
The events consisted of anti-sexual violence education and awareness provided at Sexual Assault Centre booths around campus; a keynote speech about healthy Indigenous masculinity from prominent Indigenous activist Michael Redhead Champagne; a talk-back featuring local Indigenous activists and brilliant minds Tracy Bear, Molly Swain, and Chelsea Vowel that was moderated by Jodi Stonehouse; a rebroadcast of the keynote on Jodi Stonehouse’s radio show Acimowin; a community Stew & Bannock feast following the campus March for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls put on by First People’s House; and an initial decolonization conversation with Sexual Assault Centre Staff and Volunteers.
The biggest impact of the project was igniting a campus conversation around what healthy Indigenous masculinities look like among the 200+ students, staff, and faculty who interacted with the Sexual Assault Centre booth, attended the keynote and talk-back, and participated in the First People’s House Stew & Bannock event. Following the event, pins were distributed by the Native Studies Students Association and Aboriginal Student Council. University of Alberta currently has 37,830 students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate program.
While there are many aspects of the Moose Hide Campaign that I could speak volumes about in terms of their positive impact on our community, it is the Campaign’s unique perspective on unpacking our current cultural concept of masculinity that I find to be the most impactful. As such, I found the keynote by Michael Redhead Champagne, an event supported by the Moose Hide Campaign, to be incredibly powerful. During his keynote about healthy indigenous masculinities, Michael challenged everyone to think about the ways in which we can live out the promise of the moose hide patch in every aspect of our lives. He encouraged us all to “Walk the Red Road” and to live a life of truth, love, and respect for all people. The message of the power of love, hope, and respect shared by both the Moose Hide Campaign and Michael’s talk is one that we all need to hear, and it was a true honour to hear these truths shared on our campus.Paige, University of Alberta staff member