Creating conversation to end violence against women and children
August 03, 2022
August 03, 2022
Our Indigenous Connections ERG hosted a session with the Moose Hide Campaign: a charity working to make the world safer for indigenous women and children
The Indigenous Connections Employee Resource Group (ERG) was created for Stantec employees to connect and learn about Indigenous histories, cultures, and values. We proudly supported the Moose Hide Campaign and on May 3, 2022, we hosted members from the campaign to share their stories.
We sat down with Kathryn Lacerte, Director of Education with the Moose Hide Campaign to learn more about the Campaign, how it started, and to find out more about the upcoming event.
As a bit of background, I’m the youngest sister of Paul Lacerte and aunt of Raven Lacerte, the founders of the Moose Hide Campaign. The campaign started in 2011 in northern British Columbia and has grown immensely in the past 11 years. This year, on May 12, we had over 325,000 people registered for Moose Hide Campaign Day. It’s humbling to look at the number of people taking part and know that this story started with our family and a desire to do more to keep women and children safe, particularly Indigenous women and children.
The charity was founded along the Highway of Tears, a portion of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. Each year, Paul and his family return home to our traditional territories to hunt a moose—a practice passed on from generation to generation. In 2011, Paul and Raven were close to the Highway of Tears and began reflecting on being in a space so far removed from people and traffic. As they travelled in the backcountry, they talked about how they had so much love and commitment to their homeland, while at the same time this place represents deep sadness, loss, and fear for so many.
Earlier in 2011, Paul had attended a conference in Vancouver around ending violence against women and noticed there were only a handful of men in the audience. He began thinking about ways to help men and boys understand their important role in being part of the solution. He decided he and his family could do something to invite people into the conversation, which resulted in the Moose Hide Pins. Paul and Raven hunted a moose while on this trip and decided to use its hide to make small square pins. Along with the pins, they handwrote cards with the message: if you choose to wear this pin, you are choosing to be part of the solution to end violence. What started as a small number of pins, evolved to finding an allyship with the British Columbia government. The campaign grew across British Columbia and Canada. For the first Moose Hide Campaign Day in 2011, 12 men stood on the steps of the legislature in a sign of hope and reconciliation. In 2018, the Moose Hide Campaign gifted its one millionth moose hide pin. The three millionth pin was presented to the Honorable Murray Sinclair, retired Senator, lawyer and past chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
In 2021, Moose Hide Campaign Day events were transferred to a virtual space, which created an opportunity for people from across Canada to join—as a result, we saw our event attendance increase from 1,500 people to 86,000 attendees!
This year, the event grew even more to include contributions from the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, a livestream event, and Walks to End Violence in cities across Canada, along with cities showing their support by flying Moose Hide Campaign flags or lighting important buildings yellow. There were also online workshops—an important opportunity to learn and enact a commitment to reconciliation.
Moose Hide Campaign Day is a day held in ceremony. As the sun rises in Prince Edward Island, a virtual sunrise ceremony will make its way across Canada. The day wrapped up with a fast-breaking ceremony at sunset on Vancouver Island.
We recognize the heaviness of this issue and the importance of taking our own steps to be part of a solution. Each of us is lifted by the collective need to build a safer Canada.
The Moose Hide pins are worn to symbolize reconciliation and a personal commitment to ending violence; to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in your life. The pins were distributed across Stantec offices in Canada and the US for employees to proudly wear—and help portray the message that violence is not okay.
We are actively trying to build stronger communities and meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples and business. Read more about our Indigenous Relations and Partnerships, our commitment to Inclusion and Diversity, and more about Community Engagement at Stantec.