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

From left to right. Jeremy, Ryan and Mitch Hunter are all third generation owners of Excel Tire, which will soon to become Trail Tire. (File)
3 generations later: Iconic Revelstoke tire business to be retread with new name

Excel Tire soon to become Trail Tire, but is still owned by the Hunter family

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Downtown Revelstoke on March 4, 2021. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
48 COVID-19 cases in February for Revelstoke

Since the start of the pandemic roughly one out of 30 local residents have contracted the virus

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

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

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-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
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Premier touches on protest, housing controversy in Penticton

Protesters have said they plan to go on despite police warning

Googlemaps photo
WorkBC's Find Your Fit tour will be at Len Wood Middle school Tuesday.
LOCKDOWN: Armstrong student allegedly threatens staff with weapon

RCMP called, no students were at risk, according to school

Most Read