Eleven years in, the Indigenous-led Moose Hide Campaign continues its mission to end violence against women and children, and this Thursday (May 12) the Greater Victoria community is invited to participate in a morning filled with discussion followed by an afternoon walk to the legislature.
The day, usually marked in February but delayed due to the omicron variant wave, serves as a call to action for men and boys across the country to make a pledge to adopt healthy masculinity and do their part to make everyone feel safe and welcome.
“We are bucking the tide of large cultural forces that don’t seem to steward conversations about healthy masculinity and good values around respect and love and care for women. It’s a serious issue,” said campaign CEO David Stevenson.
Men and boys are encouraged to not only tune into virtual events before joining the walk, but also to commit to fasting that day. Stevenson said fasting is an effective way to deepen resolve and commitment to the campaign’s goals.
Those registered on the campaign’s website will start their day with a daybreak ceremony, followed by a live stream plenary session featuring presentations from Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Murray Sinclair from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. From 10 to 11:30 a.m. a series of virtual workshops will be held, as well as a version tailored for the K-12 schools participating across the country.
In Victoria, the events culminate with the Walk to End Violence Against Women and Children, which starts at noon at the corner of Belleville and Douglas streets and ends at the Knowledge Totem on the legislature grounds.
“It’s not a political walk at all, it’s about solidarity and action and awareness building,” said Stevenson.
The campaign was started by co-founders and father-daughter duo Paul and Raven Lacerte, who came up with the idea while on a moose hunt near the Highway of Tears in northern B.C.
While Stevenson said the campaign has grown significantly, much work remains to be done to undo generations of not teaching boys how to embody healthy masculinity.
He noted healthy masculinity is, in a nutshell, the understanding that the role of men in the community is three-dimensional and much more than the societal expectations that a man must be strong and personally successful in order to have worth – at the cost of emotional intelligence and contributing to a larger community.
But the campaign is working, Stevenson said, and its characteristic moose hide pins have proven to be a spark for many conversations around how to address violence against women and children.
Those interested in participating on Thursday are encouraged to register online in order to gain access to the virtual events, order a free moose hide pin, or join the walk to the legislature.