The third annual Moose Hide campaign is taking place Feb. 24 at the Dutch Lake Community Centre. Moose Hide Campaign organizer Cindy Wilgosh is shown here promoting the third annual Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign in February of last year. Wilgosh is wearing one of the moose hides people wear to signify commitment in honouring, respecting, and protecting women and children, which is the purpose of the annual February campaign. This years campaign will be taking place on Feb. 11. (File photo)

The third annual Moose Hide campaign is taking place Feb. 24 at the Dutch Lake Community Centre. Moose Hide Campaign organizer Cindy Wilgosh is shown here promoting the third annual Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign in February of last year. Wilgosh is wearing one of the moose hides people wear to signify commitment in honouring, respecting, and protecting women and children, which is the purpose of the annual February campaign. This years campaign will be taking place on Feb. 11. (File photo)

MHC challenges males to take a stand against violence towards women and children

To the Editor,

Well this year has been quite the year for many of our community gatherings. I’m sure everyone is feeling the same as us.

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre, along with our community partners, has hosted a local Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign for the past three years. This year, our fourth annual MHC will be looking a tad bit different…

The momentum over the past three years has gained awareness within the community and started many great conversations. We are committed to continue with this awareness all year long. If you would like any information at all or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at ntaboriginal.ccs@gmail.com or message us on our Facebook page North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre Society (the one with the red logo).

Unfortunately, we are unable to host a community dinner and event. But we will celebrate the day, Feb. 11, 2021, with the national social media campaign. There will be a display with information and the moose hide pins available in the foyer of the Dutch Lake Community Centre.

We are inviting and encouraging the community to go to our local Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign Facebook page and post how you are spreading the word about the MHC, about the importance of ending violence against women and children, record a video, take a picture, leave us a story, a comment or even a suggestion of how we as a community can achieve this and pledge your support for the Moose Hide Campaign.

On the morning of Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, we will be reviewing all of the comments and will be putting the names of everyone who shared their pictures, comments, videos and stories into a draw for some really great gifts. Please make sure that it is posted on the “Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign” to be eligible to have your name entered.

To all the men and boys in the North Thompson Valley, I would like to challenge YOU to participate in the in the MHC, to pledge to take a stand against violence towards women and children. The provincial MHC will be live streaming at 8:30 a.m. Please go to their website and register for some of the many workshops, and the day’s events (https://moosehidecampaign.ca/).

Why are we, as Indigenous women, so passionate about supporting the Moose Hide Campaign locally? Because Indigenous women are three times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Indigenous women, and three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be killed by someone they know.

Too many of our wives, daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers and grandmothers are not safe in their own home. Too many have been murdered or are missing. It is time for us to change this. This cycle of violence came from residential schools, racism against our Peoples and colonization.

It was never in our culture to do violence to the women and children in our families and communities, it was always our responsibility to protect them. Many efforts, projects, and strategies are now underway throughout the country to change this reality, but we can and need to do more.

Silence is not good enough, and simply being a non-abuser is not good enough. We must speak up and take action, and we need to support each other as Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys.

Please help to keep these conversations going all year long.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support the third annual Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign. Keep up the conversation, and we look forward to our fifth annual gathering in February 2022.

Yours in Community Spirit,

Cindy Wilgosh and the local Clearwater Moose Hide Campaign Volunteers

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