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

An eagle sits in trees overlooking 1001 Steps in South Surrey, January 2021. The City of Surrey has received international recognition as a ‘tree city’ but an environmental group calls it an ‘empty accolade.’ (Tracy Holmes photo)
Environment organization calls Surrey’s ‘tree city’ designation ‘empty accolade’

Committee chair Allison Patton says international recognition is encouraging and sets a trend

This map illustrates the number of active COVID-19 cases in Greater Vancouver from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
Delta’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb

Total number of cases in Fraser Health increased by 206 from Feb. 21-27

Live Well Exercise Clinic CEO Sara Hodson and Trevor Linden’s Club 16 partner Carl Ulmer are pushing for gym memberships and services to become tax deductible. (Contributed photo)
Semiahmoo Peninsula fitness pros leading charge on tax-deductible gym memberships

Live Well Exercise Clinic CEO Sara Hodson pitched idea to deputy prime minister

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey Police Service hires first three inspectors as ‘next layer of leadership’

Three men have more than 80 years of combined experience

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Citizens file B.C. Ombudsperson complaint against Hope Council in Station House fracas

Demolition contract has been awarded, completed by April 30

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

The centre and left lanes just west of the Brunette Exit were blocked westbound on the Trans Canada Highway the morning of Friday, March, 5, 2021. (Drive BC)
UPDATE: Vehicle incident westbound Highway 1 in Coquitlam cleared

Earlier the centre and left lanes were blocked in the area

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Most Read