A young Raven Lacerte grew up next to a highway that has brought a lot of sorrow to the province of British Columbia.
“My family was from the area around the Highway of Tears, I’ve grown up witnessing a lot of violence. I was really trying to understand it, and understand where that pain was coming from. I wanted to know why people are resorting to violence,” she said, speaking of the origin of the Moose Hide Campaign.
The Moose Hide Campaign works with Indigenous and non-Indigenous men to end violence against women and children. Raven works with her father, Paul, to spread this grassroots movement across Canada.
Of the goals of the project, she says, “We want to really look at our men, and help them heal. It’s about using our culture to love, heal and help each other back up on to our feet again.”
The campaign’s annual gathering in Victoria hosts both men and women, providing men a safe space to come together and discuss the issues facing them. Topics like masculinity, healthy relationships and support form the basis of the gathering. Rooted in Indigenous healing practices, the program also offers workshops and guest speakers.
Its impact is undeniable. The movement is spreading—across the country, men are wearing a pin of moose hide to symbolize their commitment. Gatherings like the one in Victoria have started springing up throughout Canada, all with the goal of ending violence against women.
Raven shares a story of a man who approached her after one of her presentations. He told her, “After I heard your story, and the story of your dad, I have such hope. I tell everyone I meet about the campaign now. Canada seems like such a bigger place.”
Watch Raven's speech about the Moose Hide Campaign at the NAFC's Indigenous Innovation Summit below.