FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Don’t hesitate to contact us with more questions. We love to engage in respectful dialogue and will do our best to answer promptly!
Q. What is the Moose Hide Campaign?
The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children. Over the years it has grown into a national campaign to engage all Canadians, with over 2,000 participating communities and organizations across the country. In addition to distributing moose hide pins, the Campaign hosts both regional and national gatherings which include a day of fasting. People of all ages, backgrounds, and gender identities are welcome to attend Moose Hide Campaign events. Find out more about our next gathering.
Q: Where did the inspiration for the Moose Hide Campaign come from?
The idea for the Moose Hide Campaign came to the founders Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven during a hunting trip on their traditional territory along the "Highway of Tears", a stretch of highway in northern BC where many women have been murdered or gone missing. As they harvested a moose, they had a moment of inspiration: to tan the moose hide and cut it into squares to engage men in efforts to end violence against women and children. Since then, over two million squares have been distributed. The inspiration came from the land, from the loving relationship between a father and daughter, from the stretch of highway where violence has taken so many loved ones, and from the spirit of the moose.
Q: Why is the Moose Hide Campaign targeting men and boys specifically?
While the campaign agrees that all forms of violence are unacceptable regardless of gender, we are keenly aware that violence against women and children has been an unacceptable reality for generations. Women have been at the forefront of efforts to end domestic violence, gender-based violence, and inequality, and men have largely been absent in these efforts. It is time for men to join these efforts and work together to encourage a culture of healthy masculinity.
Q: What's changed for the Moose Hide Campaign because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The world has seen a huge uptick in rates of domestic violence during this pandemic, making the work of the Campaign more important than ever. We are continuing to get the word out there about ending violence, engaging and supporting campaigners across the country. Staff have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, and for the first time our next gathering on February 11, 2021 will be entirely virtual. We’re also encouraging supporters to stay COVID-safe whilst campaigning for us – and where possible hold Campaign events online.
Q: Why should governments and other organizations participate in the campaign?
Engaging with the Moose Hide Campaign helps raise awareness of the issues of domestic and gender-based violence and demonstrates organizational commitments to safe, healthy and inclusive work-spaces. Organizations and governments across Canada looking for practical and impactful ways to support reconciliation can also join the movement, which supports the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Participating in the non-profit society campaign also supports professional development since it promotes cross-cultural understanding and reconciliation through relationship building with community partners.
Q: How are moose hides sourced and produced?
All moose hide squares come from traditional hunters who hunt moose for food and ceremonial purposes, or from animals who have died in road accidents. No animals are hunted specifically to supply hides for the Moose Hide Campaign. The patches are produced with care by Indigenous women who are deeply committed to the protection of women and children and who value the living origins of the patches. Making the patches provides a valuable source of income for the women involved.
Q: Are there synthetic, animal-free versions of the moose hide?
Yes, the Moose Hide Campaign honours the beliefs of those that do not agree with hunting and who choose not to wear moose hide. For individuals who support the Campaign’s efforts to end violence against women and children but would prefer not to wear moose hide, the campaign produces animal-free Naugahyde (synthetic) patches. Some individuals also create their own cloth squares in solidarity with the goal of ending violence against women and children. Moose hide and synthetic pins and cards can be ordered here and delivered free of charge anywhere in Canada.
Q: How is using moose hide connected to Indigenous cultures?
Indigenous peoples have had a deep and sacred connection with the natural world since time immemorial. This relationship has always included harvesting practices such as hunting, fishing, plant gathering, and berry picking. Many protocols and teachings have been passed down through the generations to guide these harvesting practices and ensure that principles of respect, gratitude, sustainability, and reciprocity are honoured. In this context, moose have always represented an important source of food and clothing for Indigenous communities and for many non-Indigenous communities. For many generations, moose hide was used for ceremonial purposes and for making moccasins, jackets, gloves, rope, etc. It is associated with gentleness, warmth, comfort, hope, and love. The use of the moose hide for this campaign honours this sacred relationship and keeps the traditional protocols and teachings of our Elders alive.
Q: What is the role of women in the Moose Hide Campaign?
The Moose Hide Campaign was created as a way to engage men and boys in efforts to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. As men took up the challenge to wear the moose hide and participate in ceremonial fasting events, so too did many women become involved. As a result, both the campaign and the role of women in the campaign have evolved. While the campaign still focuses on engaging men and boys, it has grown to engage all Canadians in ending domestic and gender-based violence against women and children.
Q: Should women also wear the Moose Hide Square?
Yes. Women and girls are encouraged to wear the moose hide. We invite all people who care about this issue to wear the moose hide pins in their day-to-day lives and be open to sharing about the campaign when asked about them. The moose hide is intended to be a conversation starter, and women wearing the hide often sparks powerful conversations about the change we are all working towards. We have given out over two million moose hide pins. If for each pin worn, only one conversation is sparked, that means that Canadians have now had over two million conversations about ending violence that would otherwise not have happened. Our goal is to distribute 10 million moose hide pins in the coming years.
Q: How do women participate in Moose Hide Campaign events?
The Moose Hide Campaign has always benefited from strong female Indigenous guidance and leadership, having been co-founded by Raven Lacerte, a young Indigenous woman whose traditional First Nations territory is crossed by the infamous Highway of Tears. Her vision and spirit continue to guide the campaign and its efforts. Other women also play important roles in the campaign, including as ceremonial witnesses for events, keynote speakers, and cultural leaders and advisors. Campaign events now include women’s circles which run alongside men’s circles and workshops specifically for women; these will be ongoing features of Moose Hide Campaign events in the future.
Q: How does the Campaign ensure that it does not reinforce and/or perpetuate patriarchy and gender inequality?
Moose Hide Campaign representatives participated in a retreat with Indigenous female leaders and matriarchs and explored strategies to address this challenge. The guidance from the women leaders at that retreat was for the Moose Hide Campaign to establish a “Wise Aunties Council” of women leaders from across the country. The role of the Wise Aunties Council is to oversee and guide the work of the Moose Hide Campaign and to ensure its integrity. Several women also sit on the board of the non-profit society, which guides the campaign. The campaign continues to reach out to women leaders for guidance, encouragement, and to offer whatever we can in the way of support to the broad movement to end gender-based and domestic violence.
Q: Why are men invited to fast?
Most ancient cultures from around the world fast when there are important matters at hand. Here’s what some of the male organizers of the Moose Hide Campaign have shared: “Men are invited to fast for three reasons. First, it is to humble ourselves. If our society is going to shift away from patriarchy and gender inequality, then we as men will need to humble ourselves. Refraining from eating and drinking for a day is one way to embrace and practice humility. Second, fasting is a ceremony that leads to healing. Many men are in pain and trapped in a society with few options and limited supports to help them heal. Fasting is a pathway to healing, and we believe that healing amongst men will reduce instances of violence against women and children. Third, fasting is a sign that men are serious about making this change. It is more than words, it is a personal commitment to change as an individual and to effect change as a collective.” And while a central goal of the campaign is to encourage men and boys to fast, all people are welcome to fast as well. The campaign is not intended to be exclusive or divisive. Those interested in fasting are invited to review the Fasting Guide.
Q: Who should attend Moose Hide Campaign Gatherings?
Everyone who supports efforts to end domestic and gender-based violence in all sectors of Canadian society or who would like to learn more about them are encouraged to attend. Attending events is also a great way to learn about Indigenous cultures and meet new people. Those who cannot attend an event in person can organize their own event or participate remotely in various ways, including wearing the moose hide pin and watching a livestream of the event. Our next gathering will be conducted entirely online. It is 4 not necessary to fast to attend an event. Those interested in attending a national or provincial gathering are asked to register online.
Q: What about trans people and the LGBTQ2S community?
As an organization, the Moose Hide Campaign focuses on engaging men and boys to end violence against woman and children. In pursuing this we respect the dignity and gender identity of all peoples and aim to create inclusive and safe spaces for participants at campaign events. We believe all LGBTQ2S+ are sacred and we support any effort to raise awareness and bring an end to gender-based and domestic violence across all sectors of society.
Q: What can participants expect to get out of the experience?
The event is an opportunity to experience Indigenous cultures, develop healthy approaches to addressing gender-based and domestic violence, and is a practical means of supporting reconciliation. Participants will have a chance to learn about Indigenous peoples and share in traditional practices of engagement and sharing. Participants will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Indigenous protocols, increased knowledge about a variety of relevant issues, and strengthened relationships. Participants can participate in any or all of the day’s events (free of charge) which often include keynote speakers, workshops, a fast-breaking ceremony and community feast. Note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the February 2021 gathering will take place virtually, with a slightly amended agenda.