The clock tower at city hall will be lit yellow over the weekend to honour Moose Hide Campaign Day, an initiative that seeks to raise awareness about ending violence against women and children.
Mayor Clive Tolley and Lorna Himmelspeck and Darlene Veroba from the Southern Plains Metis Local 160 met at city hall on May 11 to proclaim May 12 as Moose Hide Campaign Day. The campaign is a First Nations-led grassroots movement of men, boys, and Canadians that seeks to push back against and end violence against women and children.
Due to scheduling difficulties, the tower will be lit yellow on May 13 and 14.
The campaign was founded on the side of the “Highways of Tears” in British Columbia in response to the injustices and violence that women and children in Canada — particularly those who are Aboriginal — have faced over the decades.
“They just started the campaign, and it just really went viral,” Himmelspeck said.
For Veroba, she thought it was a positive outcome that men and boys are being taught — and coming to realize — that violence against females is no longer acceptable.
“It’s not the just women saying they’ve been violated. The men and the boys are seeing it as well,” she added.
Said the mayor, “We’re helping … to spread that word.”
Research shows that half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one violent incident since age 16, while this reality is worse for indigenous people, a news release said.
The Moose Hide Campaign has distributed nearly three million moose-hide pins, which are designed to create five conversations about the issues of violence against women and children. Wearing the pin indicates a person’s commitment to honour, respect and protect the women and children in one’s life, work to end gender-based violence and work toward reconciliation with First Nations people.
During the proclamation at city hall, Himmelspeck explained that each colour on the Metis sash has meaning, with red for blood, white for fertility, yellow for happiness, green for prosperity and black for “the dark days.”
The goal of participating in the Moose Hide Campaign is to reduce those “dark days,” ensure there are more happy days and be united, Tolley said.
Veroba, treasurer of Local 160, said she likes being part of the organization since she can learn more about Metis culture. She never learned about her culture as a child since it was considered “voodoo,” so she appreciates what Himmelspeck and president Darrell Hawman have been doing to teach her and others.
“It’s nice to learn that and pass that onto my children. And my children are now learning where their roots came from as well,” Veroba added.