THE Moose Hide Campaign’s 9th Annual Fasting Ceremony took place in Victoria and included a Walk to End Violence Against Women and Children from Mungo Martin House to the Knowledge Totem Pole on the grounds of the BC Legislature.
The annual Moose Hide Campaign Day is a day of ceremony. While all Canadians are invited to fast for the day, the campaign challenges men and boys to fast to show their resolve to work together to end violence against women and girls. The campaign has a vision of one million Canadians fasting together in 2025 to create a country free of violence against women and children.
An important theme this year was the role of youth in the campaign. Moose Hide Campaign National Youth Ambassador Sage Lacerte called youth forward to speak and to share their voices with the hundreds of youth present and with the over 15,000 youth watching from their schools throughout BC and Canada via a LiveStream.
Elaine Alec, a leader in the province’s efforts to respond to the recent Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, also spoke of how the campaign is an important opportunity to honour the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and to continue the work of implementing the MMIWG Inquiry’s calls to justice.
The Moose Hide Campaign originated when Paul and his daughter Raven were hunting on their traditional territory near Highway 16 in Northern BC — the road known as the Highway of Tears, where so many Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing.
“We’ve had five generations of Indigenous people go through residential school. We know that we are just beginning to heal from that trauma,” said Paul Lacerte, Moose Hide Co-founder and National Ambassador. “I hope that men and boys will take the lessons from the Moose Hide campaign to heart, and we can continue our healing journey together.”
“I’ve always been taught that the medicines you need are found close to your home,” said Raven Lacerte. “This campaign is meant to show Canadians that Indigenous people have assets that are needed for Canadian society to address a serious social illness-domestic and gender based violence.”
More information about the campaign can be found at www.moosehidecampaign.ca
PREMIER John Horgan in a statement in support of the Moose Hide Campaign’s Provincial Gathering and Day of Fasting said: “Over half of the women in our province have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives after age 16. In Canada, Indigenous women are three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to experience domestic violence and three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be killed by someone they know.
“There have been too many women and girls who have been hurt, murdered or gone missing, or do not feel safe in their own homes. The Moose Hide Campaign aims to change that and today, we recognize the hard work they’ve done over the past nine years to help end the violence against women and children.
“The Moose Hide Campaign’s Provincial Gathering and Day of Fasting is an opportunity for people throughout the province to bring about positive change in our families and communities while encouraging men to speak up, speak out and take action against gender-based violence.
“It’s my hope that by proclaiming Feb. 24, 2020, Moose Hide Campaign Day and by wearing the moose hide pin, we will spark millions of conversations in every corner of the province and across the country about how we can help end gender-based violence in our communities.
“Our government is committed to developing a path forward to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse and two-spirit people that will be directly informed by survivors, family members and communities. We will work with partners and communities to take actions and develop a path forward to ending violence together.
“The conversations we have today will help shape a safer, more secure future for tomorrow.”
B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said: “Today, people will be gathering across the province to demonstrate their commitment to ending violence against First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women and children. The incredible Moose Hide Campaign brings awareness to the tragic epidemic of physical and sexual violence faced by Indigenous women here in British Columbia and throughout Canada.
“No one should ever face violence because of who they are. It is absolutely vital that all men speak out, hold one another accountable, and take the pledge to end gender-based violence.
“I invite all British Columbians to join me in reflecting on what we can all do to end gender-based violence and close the gaps in services for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women.
“Today, members of the BC Liberal Caucus will wear moose hide pins, recognize the important work being done by the Moose Hide Campaign, and support those colleagues taking part in a day of fasting.
“The BC Liberal Caucus strongly believes in the empowerment of women and the participation of men as vital steps to effectively tackle and end gender-based violence. In doing so, we can make homes and communities across British Columbia safer for everyone.”