Indian Head, Sask. –

Hundreds of students are marking Moose Hide Campaign Day, a national awareness initiative, for the first time in Indian Head.

The grassroots movement began 11 years ago in British Columbia as a way for men and boys to stand up against violence towards Indigenous women and girls.

Supporters are encouraged to wear pins made out of moose hides in order to spark a conversation around missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“When you are more educated on issues and you have more empathy for people who are going through things,” said Grade 11 student Sophie Bowden. “You can only make change when you learn about it and change happens with everyone, not just one group.”

Bowden is part of the Change Makers, a local youth group in Indian Head, which organized an awareness walk for the national day.

The group, which started in 2018, gives their voices to Indigenous issues while learning about the culture.

“I’ve just learned to appreciate who I am and where I come from, and not to be afraid and just be proud,” said Gracie Runns, Grade 11 student and member of the Change Makers.

Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to go missing or be murdered than any other woman in Canada, according to the final report from the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Each moose hide pin has the potential to start 10 conversations about the issue, according to the Change Makers.

“I can name so many times where I’ve felt different just for being an Indigenous woman and personal experiences that you go through,” said Change Maker member Casey Palmer.

“(The initiative) is very close and dear to my heart.”

The students’ mission is to bring information to their community.

When youth are the ones advocating, other youth are more likely to listen, Palmer said.

“People want to have to change to create change and I think you can only really do that through conversations,” she said.

The students hope to organize another awareness event next year that will draw in more participants.

The annual Moose Hide Campaign Day takes place May 12.


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