Violence against women and children was never part of traditional First Nations culture and it is time for aboriginal men to reclaim their path as spiritual warriors, an annual gathering was told in Victoria Friday.

The Moose Hide Campaign, organized by the B.C Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, culminated with a gathering of First Nations men on the legislature steps where participants pledged to speak out against all forms of violence.

Pointing to the small patch of moose hide on his lapel, Songhees artist Butch Dick said, “We are wearing this little patch to say, we, as men, will spread the word among our communities that violence against women and children must stop.”

First Nations men and non-aboriginal supporters across the country, including some police departments in Ontario, wear the patches of moose, deer or bear hide to signify their commitment to honour, respect and protect women and children in their lives.

Although aboriginal women are not the only ones to suffer domestic violence, they do face disproportionately greater violence, said Aboriginal Relations Minister Ida Chong.

“This is an issue that affects all of us, each and every day of our lives,” she said.

Aboriginal communities and families need to heal, said organizer Paul Lacerte, after speakers at the conference talked about feelings of dislocation caused by residential schools, poverty and addictions.

Aboriginal men and supporters march to the legislature in Victoria as part of the Moose Hide CampaignÍs annual gathering on Friday. The event was part of a province-wide campaign to end violence against aboriginal women and children. Photograph by: BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist 

“When I wear this [patch] it’s a commitment that I will never use my fists against women and children in my life,” he said.

“If we see and hear violence is taking place, we have made a commitment to speak up.”

That includes speaking up about missing and murdered aboriginal women across Canada, said Scott Fraser, Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA and aboriginal relations critic for the NDP.

“It’s a provincial problem. It’s a national problem and there needs to be an inquiry. That has been resisted by government and I don’t know why,” he said.

The conference was witnessed by women, several of whom spoke about growing up in violent homes.

Dealing with violence is not just about stopping the beatings, it is about showing children how partners can respect each other and how men can show affection and kindness, said Karen Joseph.

“We all need to be OK with love and not let fear lead us to this place,” she said.

Responses to "Aboriginal men take stand against violence toward women, children"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I comend you all, the western coulter seems to want child-men to buy things, not Adult-men to protect things, the world needs more 'grown up men!'.
    Thanks for speaking my thoughts.

  2. Unknown says:

    We stand against everything dog,cat,bird,fish everything but when it come to our own we care less it is and have been long do time to step up ,,, what happen to us is this the dream, sad...

  3. Anonymous says:

    Congress of Canada is operating through the Idiots here in America known as the bad crap that be. These people own Bank of America, McDonalds, Wells Fargo Bank, Citicorp, Time Warner Cable, Target, Walmart and more there also own the orgicazation called A.L.E.C stop doing business with these businesses. Is another tool to fight back against them, with out your money they cant exist. Now, I support the Wiyabi Tribe to help stop the Violence against Woman and Children, untie their hands! Because we all know what kind of people these are and why they have violence against woman and children. Here in the USA, the people know who these people are, and "We the People" dont want to have to tell those in Canada to fix the problem, or we'll expose the reason, and it aint good!
    Stephen P. Fortune

  4. Anonymous says:

    As an Aboriginal womyn I hold my head up today with honour and gratitude in knowing our men are restoring the old teachings to " honour the life-givers' of our nations. I raise my hands to the Great Spirit and thank the Warriors for their courage, strength, and volition. Together we walk the good road. May many come to see the power when a community honours the circle of life that is held within the womb of a womyn. aho
    Patricia Dawn
    Metis Womyn

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