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

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publically

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

(Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for man who tried to grab boy near Robertson elementary school

A man in a parked minivan reached out the driver side window as a young boy passed by

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Emergency crews are on scene at Walnut Grove Secondary School after a report of a bomb threat at Walnut Grove Secondary School on March 3, 2021. The school was safely evacuated. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

BC Human Rights Tribunal. (The Canadian Press)
Human rights tribunal rejects complaint against Surrey brewery

Tribunal dismisses former worker’s claim he was bullied because of his ethnicity

Most Read