A campaign against violence towards women and children has been introduced to Hay River.
The Moose Hide Campaign was brought to the community earlier this month by Eileen Hamilton of Hay River.
In essence, men are being invited to wear a small moosehide square to signify that they are committed to “honour, respect and protect” the women and children in their lives, and to work together with other men to end such violence against females.
“It’s for any man,” said Hamilton. “We’re asking men to use their strength to stand up and say, ‘I’ve seen enough. I’ve heard enough. I want it stopped.'”
The grassroots movement began in British Columbia in 2011.
“It’s a national campaign and they’re asking anybody who wants to help to pass this campaign onto the leaders of your community because that’s the first people you look up to as your leaders,” said Hamilton. “And from there is will diffuse out into the community to the young men, and get them to stand up.”
She said it’s the aboriginal way for a warrior to stand up and protect women and children.
“That’s what we’re trying to attain,” she said. “Trying to get them to stand up and say, ‘No more.'”
Hamilton said the campaign is for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal men.
She started distributing 500 moosehide squares around the community in mid-March, and has more ordered.
Hamilton first heard about the campaign on the Internet, and contacted the organizers in British Columbia about how she could help.
One of the community leaders who Hamilton has contacted about the Moose Hide Campaign is Hay River North MLA Rocky (R.J.) Simpson.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “Family violence usually happens behind closed doors so people don’t talk about it and that allows it to continue. So by wearing the moosehide, we can start conversations and that’s how we start addressing the issue.”
Simpson said some of the moosehide squares are being distributed at his constituency office.
“People are aware that there’s a need to change,” he said. “It’s not a secret that family violence in the territories is at a crisis level, and I think people are glad that we realize that and we’re trying to do something about it.”
Hamilton said she would also like to get the moosehide squares distributed into Fort Providence, Fort Simpson and Yellowknife.