Dominic Paul remembers the first time he fasted from dawn to dusk. It was part of the Moose Hide Campaign Day Fast to End Violence almost a decade ago. The campaign was just getting off the ground, and there were only a dozen or so participants at the event in Victoria, BC.  

Dominic was much younger, and with a higher metabolism and less experience fasting, he started to feel faint as the day progressed. When it was time to take a picture with the other men on the legislature steps, he was ready to break the fast. Still, he mustered the energy to pose for the picture. 

“I started to get too woozy, and I literally had to lean on the guys beside me. One of them whispered in my ear, just remember why we’re here, to deepen that commitment to protecting our women and bettering ourselves as men,” said Dominic. “That was pretty profound for me. They literally and symbolically held me up.” 

As National Ambassador for the Moose Hide Campaign, one of the things he feels most passionately about is men learning to be vulnerable with each other—the exact lesson he learned on the steps of the legislature that day. He believes that the more men can lean on each other in times of weakness and struggle, the more they will be able to work together to protect Canadian women and children from violence. 

The word “protect” has been part of Dominic’s vocabulary since he was a young boy. Growing up in Brentwood Bay, BC, in a family of eight children, he learned early on how vital it was to respect, honour and protect the women and girls in his family. 

 “It was my dad who instilled in us that we had to respect my sisters in our household every day. There was a lot of roughhousing between the brothers, but we were told never to hurt my sisters and always to protect them. To hear that from a male figure at such a young age was powerful,” said Dominic. 

Dominic met Raven Lacerte, the co-founder of the campaign, in an Indigenous studies class at Camosun College. When they were studying for the first time at her house, her father, Paul Lacerte, the other co-founder, met Dominic with a stern kind of protection, a protection any father feels for his daughter. 

But Dominic already knew, to the very core, that protecting his future wife would be his top priority.  

Raven and Dominic now have two young girls together, Cedar and Chas. His great hope for his children is that when they grow up, their relationships will come from a foundation of honour and respect. 

Dominic wants to not only instill these values in his children but all young people across the country. He remembers a story of hosting a Moose Hide Campaign Kiosk at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, where his children happen to go to daycare. Cedar and her playmates were curious about what the moose hide pins meant. At first, Dominic was at a loss for how to explain gender-based violence to four-year-olds. How could he explain the campaign in a way that was age-appropriate and not overwhelming? 

“I kneeled down, got on their level and said So if you wear this pin, I’m asking you to say you love your mommy or your sister so, so, so much, and this is one way you can show them every single day,” Dominic said. 

“I kneeled down, got on their level and said So if you wear this pin, I’m asking you to say you love your mommy or your sister so, so, so much, and this is one way you can show them every single day,” Dominic said. 

Dominic put a pin on every child. Whenever he picked up Cedar from daycare, the children excitedly showed him their moose hide and told him how much they loved their moms and sisters. 

When it comes time for these children to learn the realities of the highway of tears and the violence that happens in our country, they’ll have a strong foundation to draw back on. And having that foundation, Dominic believes, is what can lead to real generational change. 

Dominic sees a future for Cedar and Chas where the Moose Hide Campaign doesn’t exist. 

“I envision a time when needing to wear a pin isn’t necessary,” he said. “I want them to grow up and think, well, of course, I respect my mom, and of course, I protect my sister. I wouldn’t hurt anybody, and I expect that of all the other men.” 

The intergenerational harm and trauma that has happened to Indigenous people requires intergenerational repair, love and reconciliation. From a young age, Paul’s own father taught him that honouring and respecting women is the highest priority. It’s this exact message that will lead a new generation of Canadians to create a safer country for all women and children. 

Dominic will be co-presenting with Raven during this year’s Campaign Day. Be sure to register for the Livestream and virtual workshops at: