A group of Trinity Western Track and Field and Cross Country athletes and alumni are teaming up to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women and children alongside the Moose Hide Campaign.
Over the next week, a group led by Spartans alum Nick Colyn (Langley) and second-year Levi Osterwalder (Camrose, Alta.) will run a collective 725km stretch – the same distance of northern British Columbia’s Highway of Tears – a section of highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert and the location of many missing and murdered indigenous women.
“In having conversations about the Moose Hide Campaign, I was shocked how few people had never heard of the Highway of Tears before,” said Colyn. “That really pushed me towards finding a way we could collectively bring awareness to an initiative that emphasizes a very sad and devastating part of our provinces’ history. The idea to run the distance of the Highway of Tears was the first thing that came to mind, and it allows for others to easily come alongside and contribute to the initiative as well.”
“Spartan Athletics very much wants to draw attention to the issue of violence against women and children as represented in the Moose Hide Campaign,” said Jeff Gamache, Director of Athletics. “For many years, I drove the Highways of Northern BC while I was tree planting, never knowing the deep sadness that this stretch of road would become known for as the Highway of Tears.
“I have since learned of the atrocities within the Indigenous communities that have happened on this 725 kilometre stretch of road. Now is the time to learn and truly understand our history and commit to end violence against women and children. As Spartan Athletics, we are aiming to run 725 kilometres in solidarity with Indigenous women and children in the hope that men will live up to Christ’s call to love, respect and cherish the women in our lives.”
“As athletes we have a unique and special platform to raise awareness, and the Moose Hide Campaign targets a cause that is very much affecting people to this day,” said Osterwalder. “This is not just an issue of the past, but one of the present and the future, and we need to do what we can with our platform to raise awareness for and support this important cause.”
About the Moose Hide Campaign
On an early 2011 August morning, an Indigenous man named Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven were hunting moose near the infamous Highway of Tears, where dozens of women have gone missing or been found murdered. They had brought down a moose that would help feed the family for the winter and provide a moose hide for cultural purposes. As the daughter was skinning the moose her father started thinking…They were so near the highway that has brought so much sorrow to the communities along its endless miles, here with his young daughter who deserved a life free of violence…That’s when the idea sprang to life! What if they used the moose hide to inspire men to become involved in the movement to end violence towards women and children? Together with family and friends they cut up the moose hide into small squares and started the Moose Hide Campaign.
Now, seven years later, more than 1,000,000 squares of moose hide have been distributed and the Moose Hide Campaign has spread to communities and organizations across Canada. Local campaigns have started in government offices, in colleges and universities, on First Nations reserves, in Friendship Centres, in community organizations, and within individual families.
Thursday February 11, 2021 will mark Moose Hide Campaign Day, with a virtual live stream featuring a ceremony, keynote speakers and various workshops amongst other things.
To donate or learn more about the Moose Hide Campaign, click here