Wearing your hide on your sleeve (or lapel)
Years before joining Suncor as a heavy equipment mechanic, Amanda Robért was on a solo motorcycle trip through the Rocky Mountains when she learned of the Moose Hide Campaign.
“I was sitting in a hotel hot tub in Lake Louise when a van plastered with posters of missing and murdered Indigenous women pulled up to the hotel. As a Métis-Ojibway women, this got my attention. I later learned that the people in the van were walking the Highway of Tears,” says Amanda, now a maintenance planner for Suncor’s Fort Hills site.
“One of the women from the van got in the hot tub. She had a prosthetic leg that was raw and sore from walking, which she was doing for her niece who had gone missing. As we talked, she told me her niece’s story and she gave me a moose hide pin, explaining what it meant. That was how I learned of the Moose Hide Campaign.”
Highway of Tears
The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement started by a father and daughter in 2011. The pair were on a moose hunting trip near British Colombia’s Highway of Tears—a 724-kilometre stretch of road where women, mostly Indigenous, have gone missing or have been found murdered.
February 11 marks the 10th Moose Hide Campaign Day and will be celebrated virtually with ceremony, workshops, and fasting across Canada.
In Canada, Indigenous women are three times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non-Indigenous women. However, instead of focusing on the victims, the Moose Hide Campaign asks men and boys to pledge their commitment to ending violence against women and children.
By wearing a moose hide pin herself, Amanda has sparked many questions and given out countless pins. More importantly, the discussions she’s had about the pin has spread awareness of the violent epidemic afflicting Indigenous women and children.
“It’s not about tossing out pins,” explains Amanda “I want people to understand what it’s about and why it’s important—I want people to know the message behind it.”
Even Amanda’s fiancé, who isn’t Indigenous, uses the pin he wears to start conversations and dispel myths around Indigenous culture.
“He wears the pin because it’s important to me, but also because he understands the importance of ending the cycle of violence against women,” says Amanda. “You don’t have to be Indigenous to wear the pin. Everyone can wear one and it can be worn all year long.”
The moose hide pin is a symbol of healing and is being recognized by more people every year. The Moose Hide Campaign’s goal is to distribute 10 million moose hide pins across Canada.
Amanda believes that goal will be reached within her lifetime: “One person at a time. One pin at a time. One conversation at a time. One day we’ll get there.”