Moose Hide Campaign co-founders Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven Lacerte are photographed in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. The Moose Hide Campaign to end violence against women and children has grown from a grassroots movement to reaching millions of people in more than 2,000 communities across Canada. But with the pandemic creating more isolation, the Lacertes say the problem they are trying to address remains, making the campaign just as relevant on its 10th anniversary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Moose Hide Campaign co-founders Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven Lacerte are photographed in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. The Moose Hide Campaign to end violence against women and children has grown from a grassroots movement to reaching millions of people in more than 2,000 communities across Canada. But with the pandemic creating more isolation, the Lacertes say the problem they are trying to address remains, making the campaign just as relevant on its 10th anniversary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Pandemic exacerbating issues at core of Moose Hide Campaign to end violence

The idea for the campaign came to Paul and Raven while they were hunting in their traditional territory

A lot has changed since Raven Lacerte and her father Paul Lacerte hatched a plan while moose hunting to help quell a tide of violence that they’d witnessed in their community.

The Moose Hide Campaign to end violence against women and children has grown from a grassroots movement to reaching millions of people in more than 2,000 communities across Canada. But with the pandemic creating more isolation, the Lacertes say the problem they are trying to address remains, making the campaign just as relevant on its 10th anniversary.

“To get to that scale and to realize it’s still such a pervasive issue in this country and that the pandemic is exacerbating the issue means we have to consider this as just one small step,” Paul Lacerte said.

The idea for the campaign came to Paul and Raven while they were hunting in their traditional territory in 2011 near the Highway of Tears, where dozens of women, most of them Indigenous, have gone missing or been found murdered.

“We’re Carrier people, so the Highway of Tears runs right through our community,” Raven said. “We’ve felt some of those losses and seen some of the cycles of violence that happen within our communities.”

Paul had recently returned from a conference on violence against women and children in Vancouver where he found himself one of only four men among hundreds of women in attendance.

“It really represented a microcosm for me of the broader ecosystem where it’s women who have borne the burden of abuse, mostly at the hands of men. And also generations of women who have borne the burden of advocacy and mobilization to make the change,” he said.

Wanting his daughters to live lives free of violence, he recognized a need for Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys to be engaged in any movement for change.

While hunting, he and Raven, then 16, discussed how they could start a movement that wasn’t about shaming people but about lifting them up and encouraging them to choose healthy lives.

Raven and her sisters cut the first 25,000 squares of hide from the moose they harvested that day.

She said she’s sees the animal as a source of ongoing medicine.

“We kind of looked down at this beautiful moose that had given its life to us on this beautiful territory, Carrier land, and we thought maybe if we use that moose hide it could be a way for men and boys and all Canadians to wear it as their everyday commitment and everyday reminder to not do violence,” Raven said in an interview.

The campaign has reached schools and workplaces across the country, challenging participants to consider their role in gender-based violence and consider making commitments to stem the trend.

On its anniversary Thursday, the Lacertes say they hope to distribute 10 million moose hide squares and see one million people join in a day of fasting for the cause.

The father-daughter team is also constantly adapting. Anyone who wears a moose hide pin is encouraged to welcome conversation about what it means and invite them into a safe space for conversation about gender-based violence.

But with such a weighty issue, they realize that some people have been ill-equipped to take the conversation beyond the basics.

In some cases, the person who asks about the square may recognize the hide-wearer as a “safe person” and start sharing, for example, that they recently left a long-term abusive relationship.

“Then immediately the person wearing the moose hide square is out of their depth. So we recognize the need for capacity building to have these conversations, particularly for men. How to signal confidentiality or listen compassionately or exit safely or make a referral,” Paul said.

“We really recognize there is a need to do capacity building for this conversation to get to the scale that we are hoping for and that we as a society need.”

They have also shifted many resources online during the pandemic. While Thursday marks Moose Hide Campaign Day, the Lacertes say the problem can’t be fixed in one go.

“This isn’t a one-day thing, we want people to do it every day,” Raven said.

“Or at least until there’s no more violence against women in Canada,” Paul added.

READ MORE: 60% of Indigenous workers feel emotionally unsafe on the job: Catalyst survey

— By Amy Smart in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

good lookin
West Kootenay pet shop owner petitions for end to pet mills

“Our companion animal laws are pretty lax right now, we need to bring more awareness to help SPCA”

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Most Read