On February 10, 2022, schools from across Canada are invited to our virtual Moose Hide Campaign Day – an annual event aimed at ending violence against women and children.
Your school can take part in the livestream of the event. Our day to end violence will include meeting the founders of the Campaign, and hearing from keynote speakers from across the country. Elders and youth will guide us as we learn more about this critical issue and engage in tangible Action for Reconciliation. The day continues with interactive workshops created specifically for Middle and Senior years students.
Join this free online event to be part of the momentum for change. Bring the Moose Hide Campaign to your classroom, school or community by ordering and distributing moose hide pins to students, staff and parents—and by taking the online pledge to stand up against violence.
Indigenous People: A collective noun for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people in Canada. Also, an inclusive term used to describe the diversity of First Peoples in an international context. While “Indigenous” may be considered the most inclusive term since it identifies peoples in similar circumstances without respect to national boundaries or local conventions, it remains a contentious term since it defines groups primarily in relation to their colonizers. Although Indigenous people are defined as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations, these rights are not recognized by all States. The term ‘Indigenous’ is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
First Nation: First Nation is a term used to identify Indigenous Peoples of Canada who are neither Métis nor Inuit. According to the Assembly of First Nations, “this term came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the term ‘Indian’ and ‘Indian band’ which many found offensive. Many communities have also replaced ‘band’ with ‘First Nation’ in their names. Despite its widespread use, there is no legal definition for this term in Canada.”
“First Nations people” applies to both Status and Non-Status Indians, so it is important to be careful with its usage, especially if in reference to programs that are specifically for Status Indians. Similarly, caution should be used when using this term, as many First Nations communities have publicly and politically expressed that they now prefer the term “Indigenous.”
First Nation is acceptable as both a noun and a modifier. It can be:
- Used to refer to a single band (First Nation) or many bands (First Nations)
- Used in reference to a specific geographic location
- Used instead of “Indian” when referring to an individual
“First Nation community” is a respectful alternative phrase. The term should not be used as a synonym for Aboriginal Peoples because it does not include Inuit or Métis.
Inuit: Inuit are an Indigenous circumpolar people found across the North. The Inuit are one of three recognized Aboriginal peoples in the Constitution Act, 1982.
In Canada, Inuit primarily live in the Inuit Nunangat – the Canadian Inuit homeland. The term “Inuit Nunangat” refers to the land, water, and ice of their homeland and describes the Inuit territory comprised of four regions. Nearly half of the Inuit live in Nunavut, followed by Nunavik in northern Quebec, Nunatsiavut in Labrador, and the Inuvialuit region in the western Arctic. The majority of the Canadian Inuit population lives in 53 communities spread over two provinces and two territories. Inuit have lived in this homeland since time immemorial.
The word “Inuit,” which means “people,” is sometimes confused with the Innu. The Innu are another Indigenous People who live primarily in northeastern Quebec and southern Labrador and whose language belongs to the larger Algonquian language group.
Use “Inuk” to refer to an individual person.
Use “Inuuk” when referring to two people.
Use “Inuit” when referring to three or more people.
In the Inuktitut language, the term “Inuit” translates to “the people,” making the term “Inuit people” redundant.
Métis: Métis are included as one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which reads:
35 (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
(2) in this Act, the aboriginal peoples of Canada includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
The Métis emerged as a distinct people or nation in the historic Northwest during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries. This area is known as the “historic Métis Nation Homeland,” which includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. This historic Métis Nation had recognized Aboriginal title, which the Government of Canada attempted to extinguish through the issuance of “scrip” and land grants in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
The Métis National Council consequently adopted the following definition of “Métis” in 2002:
“Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.” In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Métis are a rights-bearing Aboriginal people. Its judgement in R. v. Powley set out the components of a Métis definition for the purpose of claiming Aboriginal rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. These are:
- Self-identification as a member of a Métis community.
- Ancestral connection to the historic Métis community whose practices ground the right in question
- Acceptance by the modern community with continuity to the historic Métis community.
Aging out of care: “Aging out of care” is a vernacular phrase used to describe the transition period when a young person no longer requires, is eligible for, or is provided care under the foster care or child welfare system due to the fact that they have reached a certain age.
Assimilation: Assimilation is the process whereby individuals or groups of differing ethnic heritage are absorbed into the dominant culture of a society. The process of assimilation involves taking on the traits of the dominant culture to such a degree that the assimilating group becomes socially indistinguishable from other members of the society. Assimilation may be compelled through force or undertaken voluntarily.
Bias: Bias is holding a prejudice in favour of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
Blood Memory: Blood memory is a term often used by Indigenous Peoples to refer to memories stored in one’s body cells and passed on genetically. It is also referred to as genetic memory or cellular memory. Blood memory is often described as one’s ancestral or genetic connection to one’s language, songs, ceremonies, land, teachings, etc.
Ceremony: The ritual observances, set out by custom or tradition, performed to mark or honour certain events or occasions. Ceremonies differ by Indigenous Nation but often share common purposes such as seeking direction or guidance, healing, distribution of wealth, or honouring individuals, life events, or occasions such as birth, naming, puberty, death, etc. Colonialism / Colonization: Colonialism is the attempted or actual imposition of policies, laws, mores, economies, cultures or systems, and institutions put in place by settler governments to support and continue the occupation of Indigenous territories, the subjugation of Indigenous Nations, and the resulting internalized and externalized thought patterns that support this occupation and subjugation.
Colonialism is not to be confused with colonization.
Colonialism is the ideology advocating colonization. Colonization generally refers to the process by which Europeans invaded and occupied Indigenous national territories. Decolonization / Decolonized / Decolonizing: Decolonization is a social and political process aimed at resisting and undoing the multifaceted impacts of colonization and re-establishing strong contemporary Indigenous Nations and institutions based on traditional values, philosophies, and knowledge systems.
It is the meaningful and active resistance to forces of colonialism that perpetuate the subjugation and/or exploitation of Indigenous minds, bodies, and lands. It requires individuals to consciously and critically question the legitimacy of the colonizer and reflect on the ways we have been influenced by colonialism.
The term “decolonizing” is preferred over “decolonization” or “decolonized” to demonstrate that the process is ongoing.
Discrimination: Discrimination is unequal or different treatment or harassment that causes harm. This includes behaviour towards or against a person of a certain group based solely on class or category involving exclusion or restriction of members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups.
Discrimination has been based on the following grounds: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship, ethnic origin, religion, receipt of social assistance, disability, age, marital status, family status, sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, etc. Overt discrimination is discrimination that is open, deliberate, and intentional.
Systemic discrimination is the creation and perpetuation of systems (that is, knowledge, education, governance, laws) based on the values and mores that are central to one fragment of a society and to which it assumes all societies subscribe.
It can also be understood as the application of criteria, or a “standard practice,” that creates an adverse impact on an individual or identifiable group.
Eurocentrism: Eurocentrism is the tendency to interpret the histories and cultures of non-European societies from a European (or Western) perspective.
In-care: A vernacular term to describe a young person’s living situation when they receive state-mandated care from the foster or child welfare system.
Indian Act: The Indian Act, passed in 1876, combined all existing policies affecting Indians and outlined the responsibilities of the federal government, established by the British North America Act of 1867.
The Indian Act, since it was first passed, has subjected generations of Indigenous women and their children to discrimination. Despite amendments, it continues to do so today.
While there have been numerous amendments to the Act, Indian status continues to be transmitted by males and not by females. The 1876 Indian Act defined the criteria for being an Indian as: a male Indian, the wife of a male Indian, or the child of a male Indian. Under the Indian Act, if an Indian woman married a Non-Status Indian man, she lost her status and the children of her marriage were denied Indian status.
The three principles that guided the amendments to the Indian Act were:
The removal of discrimination
Restoration of status and membership rights, and
Increasing control of Indian bands over their own affairs.
Bill C-31 (1985) provided a process by which women could have their lost status reinstated and their children could apply for status. However, the criteria by which status is passed on have resulted in continued discrimination against women.
In addition, Bill C-31 expanded band control over membership and community life, enabling Indian people to take an important step toward self-government.
Bill C-3, introduced in March 2010, was intended to remedy the discrimination women continued to face under Bill C-31 by ensuring that eligible grandchildren of women who lost status as a result of marrying non-Indian men will become entitled to registration (Indian status).
However, in practice discrimination has continued. Grandchildren born before 1951 who trace their Aboriginal heritage through their maternal parentage are still denied status, while those who trace their heritage through their paternal counterparts are not.
Residential Schools system: In Canada, the Residential Schools system was a network of boarding schools for Indigenous students administered by the Canadian government and Christian churches. Initiated in the 1880s, these schools operated until the 1990s, with the last school closing in 1996. Residential Schools removed Indigenous children from their homes, families, and communities, with a purpose of educating and assimilating Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture.
It is estimated that over 150,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children attended Residential Schools. In recent years, former students have pressed for recognition of abuses suffered at Residential Schools. This resulted in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2007, a formal apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008, and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008.
Inherent rights: Inherent rights are the pre-existing rights that an individual inherits from their nation upon their birth. Inherent rights are officially recognized under Sec 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Aboriginal Peoples have the right to govern themselves in relation to matters that are internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages, and institutions, and with respect to their special relationship to the land and their resources. Intergenerational trauma: Intergenerational trauma is transmission of the effects of trauma across generations, affecting the children and grandchildren of those initially victimized. This includes the transmission of historical oppression and colonization that continues to impact the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples today.
Racism: Racism is a social construct that has social, political, and economic consequences. Racism is an ideology that directly or indirectly asserts that one group is inherently superior to others, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by their biological characteristics.
According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, racism can be openly displayed in racial jokes and slurs or hate crimes, and it can also be more deeply rooted in attitudes, values, and stereotypical beliefs. In some cases, these are unconsciously held and have become deeply embedded in systems and institutions that have evolved over time. Racism operates at a number of levels, including individual, systemic, and societal.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination defines racial discrimination or racism as any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life.
Settler colonialism: Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism that functions through the replacement of Indigenous populations with an invasive settler society that over time develops a distinctive identity and sovereignty.
Settler colonialism, like colonialism, is an ideology or structure, not an event. Settler colonialism persists in the ongoing elimination of Indigenous populations and the assertion of state sovereignty over Indigenous Peoples and lands.
Settler colonialism refers to settler colonizers who come to new lands with the intent to permanently occupy and assert authority over Indigenous lands. When settling, an imperial power oversees the immigration of settlers who consent, often only temporarily, to the authority of the imperial power. When allegiance to the imperial power is severed, however, settler colonial societies continue to exercise power.
This power has often been based on racially constructed narratives, such as the hyper-sexualization of Indigenous women or the portrayal of Indigenous men as savage, which portray Indigenous people as being in need of care from the “civilized settler state”. This dehumanizing narrative supports the parallel narrative of “peaceful” frontier settlement and expansion.
Settler colonialism begins with perception that lands in long-term use by Indigenous Peoples are empty or unused, which justifies the division of Indigenous-held lands into private property.
The power of settler state structures is often embodied in the form of frontier police forces and bureaucratic agencies, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Indian agents, or other government officials. These agencies wielded (and in some cases, continue to hold) power over Indigenous Peoples, including the ability to apprehend children, to prevent people from leaving official “reserve” lands (or conversely, to expel individuals or families from reserved territories), to control employment, and even to summarily direct police or military forces against Indigenous people.
Seven Sacred Teachings: The Seven Sacred Teachings is a term used by many, but not all, Indigenous peoples within the lands now known as Canada. The term refers to the foundational concepts by which we should all live our lives in the best interest of ourselves, our families, our communities, and all living things. The Seven Sacred Teachings are: love, honesty, courage, wisdom, humility, truth, and respect.
Sexism: Sexism is prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination based on gender or sex, typically against women or girls.
Stereotypes: Stereotypes are commonly held public beliefs about a certain social group or type of individual. Stereotypes include images, understandings, or categorization of groups or individuals based on simplified or generalized understandings of the characteristics, nature, or descriptions of the individuals or groups. This categorization, which denies diversity, results in a skewed, false, or incorrect understanding about the characteristics, nature, or description of the individual or groups in question.
Trauma informed: A trauma-informed approach supports healing in a way that aims to do no further harm and to ensure that families and survivors are not re-traumatized.
Preparing the Environment
It is vital that teachers and students come together to talk about these difficult subjects knowing that it is their responsibility to build relationships based upon respect. This cannot be done without creating an environment where all students are considered of equal worth and each student’s contribution is valued. This is called creating “ethical space.” Ethical space creates room for new knowledge and understanding to emerge and where transformation sometimes happens. In an ethical space, it is possible for students from different cultures and worldviews, whose values may clash, to communicate with each other respectfully and contribute to information and knowledge sharing without fear. The teacher must be conscious of the fact that there are no “shortcuts” to creating an ethical space.
It will be important to speak with health supports such as school counsellors, Resolution Health Support Workers, mental health services staff, or other support staff and services that you have access to through your school, making them aware of the learning that will be happening. Invite them to visit your classroom for some or all of the learning, and include health outreach workers from local Indigenous service delivery points. If that is not possible, you should have their contact information available in case you or any of your students are triggered or otherwise impacted by the learning and would benefit from extra support. NOTE: It is important to remember that many mental health service providers have not had the benefit of Indigenous teachings or pedagogy. It may be helpful to share this learning resource with them in advance so that they are better prepared to address the health care needs in the classroom.
Education of Parents:
It is important to remember that many parents have not been adequately educated about the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, including the Residential Schools system, legislation, and government assimilation policy designed to destroy cultures, languages, and land-based ways of life, or the violence Indigenous women and girls face. Many may also not know the truths about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Parents who lack this knowledge sometimes respond with discomfort or disbelief when their children share the truths they are learning. Teachers can mitigate these responses by working with the parent council association in your area so that they too might be educated. In this way school council/parent council facilitators will be able to engage parents in learning along with their children. This important learning involves every member of society: We are all connected.
Establish a safe space in which to explore all perspectives and where all voices are valued, with the caveat that abuse, oppression, sexism, and racism have no place in our classrooms or in our communities. This can be established by adopting a shared set of principles and guidelines at the beginning of the year that may be revisited during important and personal discussions like the ones in this initiative.
Engaging Indigenous women, girls, and community members in the teaching and sharing is an important way to make connections within the learning on a human level. Whenever possible, bring authentic voices into your classroom who are part of the local Indigenous communities.
It would not be accurate to state that all Indigenous nations have or had the same interpretation of roles for gender and/or sexual minorities, including the role of Two-Spirit people. It is important for teachers, and all adults working with youth, to consider that discussing male and female gender roles might cause hurt or feelings of “I don’t belong” for students who are part of a gender or sexual minority. It is very important to know your students and to proceed in as respectful and non-judgmental a manner as possible while considering the multiple understandings of gender in Indigenous cultures, communities, and families.
This refers to an environment in which the adults in the room recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress using clearly defined expectations and communication strategies to guide students through stressful situations. This approach provides students with tools to cope with difficult or traumatic situations and creates an underlying culture of respect and support in the classroom and the school overall. (For more information https://traumaawareschools.org)
For many teachers the experience of teaching about Indigenous women and girls, much like the teaching about Residential Schools, will require new learning, often only one step ahead of your students. This is not uncommon and should not be a deterrent to taking on this very important learning with your students. Consider this as an opportunity to learn with your students to co-create and learn together, respectfully and considerately.
Some teachers will be leading this initiative based on their own lived experience and/or with students who are directly or indirectly impacted by the issue of missing or murdered family members. Again, this is not a reason to avoid this important learning. However, we acknowledge that the content can be difficult and emotional. We encourage teachers to access the resources and tools needed to develop both their personal and classroom-based strategies for self-care. Teachers who use a trauma-informed approach can create an environment that supports student self-empowerment, self-determination, and agency for change as students discover the power of their own voices.
Teachers are reminded not to assume that all Indigenous students in class are members of the local First Nation, Métis, or Inuit community. It is important to know the background of your students and to learn about the local Indigenous people and their lands. It is also important to remember that one of the significant inter-generational impacts of colonization and the Residential Schools system is separation from language and culture. Do not assume that Indigenous students know their culture, their birth family, or community of origin. Get to know your students, find out about their homeland, their traditional territory, and communities, and connect with them where possible.
Remember that relationship is key when learning about, with, and from Indigenous people. In-person, face-to-face learning opportunities are best for you and your students. We all have a role in this work but our roles are different depending on our background. We all have the responsibility to teach truth and move to action. Be aware that not everyone has the right to teach cultural protocols or talk about personal stories from other people’s lives without their permission. If you are non-Indigenous, connect with an Indigenous person/people from the territory to guide you and to do some of the teaching wherever possible.
Reminder about Indigenous Perspectives
The term “Indigenous” is used throughout this guide but it is important to remember that the perspectives, protocols, practices, values, teachings, and knowledge is unique to each First Nation, Inuit community, Métis community or settlement, family and individual. Educators, group leaders, parents, and anyone utilizing this guide will need to take the time to seek information, knowledge, and teaching from the people of the local territory. This is part of the necessary learning for change that creates safer places, spaces, and communities not only for Indigenous women and girls, but for all Indigenous peoples, and that fosters social justice and reconciliation.
Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Campaign.
The world has seen a huge uptick in rates of domestic violence during this pandemic, making the work of the Campaign more important than ever. We are continuing to get the word out there about ending violence, engaging and supporting campaigners across the country.
Staff have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, and for the first time our gathering in February 2021 was held entirely virtually. We’re also encouraging supporters to stay COVID-safe whilst campaigning for us – and where possible hold Campaign events online.
While the campaign agrees that all forms of violence are unacceptable regardless of gender, we are keenly aware that violence against women and children has been an unacceptable reality for generations. We know that women are far more likely to be victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment than men.
And while women have been at the forefront of efforts to end domestic violence, gender-based violence and inequality, men have largely been absent in these efforts. It is time for men to join these efforts and work together to encourage a culture of healthy masculinity.
The Moose Hide Campaign was created as a way to engage men and boys in efforts to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. As men took up the challenge to wear the moose hide and participate in ceremonial fasting events, so too did many women become involved. As a result, both the campaign and the role of women in the campaign have evolved. While the campaign still focuses on engaging men and boys, it has grown to engage all Canadians in ending domestic and gender-based violence against women and children.
Women and girls are encouraged to wear the moose hide. We invite all people who care about this issue to wear the moose hide pins in their day-to-day lives and be open to sharing about the campaign when asked about them. The moose hide is intended to be a conversation starter, and women wearing the hide often sparks powerful conversations about the change we are all working towards.
Campaign events now also include women’s circles which run alongside men’s circles and workshops specifically for women; these will be ongoing features of Moose Hide Campaign events in the future.
Indigenous peoples have had a deep and sacred connection with the natural world since time immemorial. This relationship has always included harvesting practices such as hunting, fishing, plant gathering, and berry picking. Many protocols and teachings have been passed down through the generations to guide these harvesting practices and ensure that principles of respect, gratitude, sustainability, and reciprocity are honoured. In this context, moose have always represented an important source of food and clothing for Indigenous communities and for many non-Indigenous communities.
For many generations, moose hide was used for ceremonial purposes and for making moccasins, jackets, gloves, rope, etc. It is associated with gentleness, warmth, comfort, hope, and love. The use of the moose hide for this campaign honours this sacred relationship and keeps the traditional protocols and teachings of our Elders alive.
Yes, the Moose Hide Campaign honours the beliefs of those that do not agree with hunting and who choose not to wear moose hide. For individuals who support the Campaign’s efforts to end violence against women and children but would prefer not to wear moose hide, the campaign produces animal-free Naugahyde (synthetic) patches.
Some individuals also create their own cloth squares in solidarity with the goal of ending violence against women and children. Moose hide and synthetic pins and cards can be ordered here and delivered free of charge anywhere in Canada.
All moose hide squares come from traditional hunters who hunt moose for food and ceremonial purposes, or from animals who have died in road accidents. No animals are hunted specifically to supply hides for the Moose Hide Campaign.
The patches are produced with care by Indigenous women who are deeply committed to the protection of women and children and who value the living origins of the patches. Making the patches provides a valuable source of income for the women involved.
As well as having many women among our staff, several women also sit on the board of the non-profit society, which guides the campaign. The campaign also continues to reach out to women leaders for guidance, encouragement, and to offer whatever we can in the way of support to the broad movement to end gender-based and domestic violence.
Most ancient cultures from around the world fast when there are important matters at hand. The male organizers of the Moose Hide Campaign have shared the three main reasons why men are invited to fast for the campaign:
- First, it is to humble ourselves. If our society is going to shift away from patriarchy and gender inequality, then we as men will need to humble ourselves. Refraining from eating and drinking for a day is one way to embrace and practice humility.
- Second, fasting is a ceremony that leads to healing. Many men are in pain and trapped in a society with few options and limited supports to help them heal. Fasting is a pathway to healing, and we believe that healing amongst men will reduce instances of violence against women and children.
- Third, fasting is a sign that men are serious about making this change. It is more than words, it is a personal commitment to change as an individual and to effect change as a collective.” And while a central goal of the campaign is to encourage men and boys to fast, all people are welcome to fast as well. The campaign is not intended to be exclusive or divisive. Those interested in fasting are invited to learn more here.
Everyone who supports efforts to end domestic and gender-based violence in all sectors of Canadian society or who would like to learn more about them are encouraged to attend. Attending events is also a great way to learn about Indigenous cultures and meet new people.
Those who cannot attend an event in person can organize their own event or participate remotely in various ways, including wearing the moose hide pin and watching a livestream of the event. It is not necessary to fast to attend an event. Those interested in attending a gathering are asked to register online.
As an organization, the Moose Hide Campaign focuses on engaging men and boys to end violence against women and children. We know that in Canada, women have a 20% higher risk of being victimized by men, Indigenous women report experiencing spousal abuse at 3 times the rate of non-Indigenous women, transgender and gender diverse people are nearly twice as likely as cisgendered women to experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
We respect the dignity and gender identity of all peoples and believe all LGBTQ2S+ are sacred and we support any effort to raise awareness and bring an end to gender-based and domestic violence across all sectors of society.