The third annual Clearwater Moose Hide campaign is on the horizon, which encourages Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys to stand up against violence towards women and children.
This year’s event will be held at the Dutch Lake Community Centre on Feb. 24 and offers an open house with light refreshments, information sharing and displays.
Other items on the agenda include guest speakers, acknowledgements of community champions, videos and a dinner catered by K and A Gateway Grill.
“It’s our third year and the first two years we had quite a response. This year we’re getting more and more people who want to get involved,” said organizer Cindy Wilgosh.
“More people are becoming aware of it and I think that’s because most of us wear our moosehides all throughout the year just to create that awareness.”
The moose hides Wilgosh is referring to are little pieces of leather one can wear with a pin and it signifies a person’s commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in one’s life and to work together to end violence against them.
The campaign’s vision is to spread the word to organizations, communities, and governments throughout Canada.
The event is also a chance for the community to see what kinds of services Clearwater has and what’s available to them; if someone is going through abuse, it’s an opportunity for them to see they’re not alone and that they’re supported.
Wilgosh noted it’s the help the event receives from the community that makes it what it is.
“Without the financial support from the District of Clearwater, TNRD director Carol Schaffer, BC Metis Federation, North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Changes That Heal, Clearwater Royal Purple, and Gateway Grill, we would not be able to host this worthwhile free community event,” she said.
“With (further) support from our community partners like Yellowhead Community Services, Clearwater RCMP Victims Services unit, Raft River Elementary School, and Mayor Merlin Blackwell (emcee for the evening), we are all looking forward to sharing the evening with you, for you to help spread the message and to stand up against violence towards women and children.”
According to the campaign’s website, the Moose Hide campaign began in 2011 when founder Paul Lacerte and his daughter, Raven, were hunting along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, also known as the Highway of Tears due to the number of Indigenous women who have gone missing along that stretch of road.
The pair managed to find a moose early in the morning and while his daughter was preparing the animal, they began talking about the tragedies that have occurred on that highway.
A moment of inspiration struck and the father and daughter decided to tan the moose’s hide, cut it into little squares and give it to men to wear as a sign of their commitment to end violence against women and children.
As for the campaign in Clearwater, Wilgosh said it’s completely organized through volunteers and donations, so any of those wishing to help are encouraged to lend a hand.
The open house takes place from 3 to 5 p.m., after which the rest of the program will take place.
Those who want to take part in the dinner must pre-register and RSVP by Feb. 21 due to limited seating.
For more information or to make a donation contact Wilgosh at 250-674-8380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact Melody Romeo at 250-674-8009 or email@example.com
To learn more about the Moose Hide Campaign visit; https://moosehidecampaign.ca