Ask Jason Seright what he was feeling when he saw moose hide pins being worn by students and faculty across Humber’s campuses and he gives a heartfelt response.
“My heart smiles, if that makes sense,” said Seright, dean of Indigenous Education and Engagement at Humber College. “I feel proud.”
The pins are part of the annual Moose Hide Campaign, which is an Indigenous-led initiative by men and boys that raises awareness for ending gender-based violence, particularly against women and children. May 12 is National Moose Hide Campaign Day.
Wearing the moose hide pin signifies an individual’s commitment to honour, respect and protect the women and children in their life and to work together to end violence against women and children.
The use of moose hide for the pins is inspired from the land, from the loving relationship between a father and daughter, from the stretch of highway known as the “Highway of Tears” where violence has taken so many loved ones and from the spirit of the moose.
Earlier this month, the pins were distributed to staff, students and visitors at both the Lakeshore and North campuses. The Humber community was encouraged to pin them onto their clothing to show support for the national initiative that began as a grassroots movement and now has more than 2,000 participating communities and organizations across the country.
It’s the second consecutive year that Humber has been involved in the Moose Hide Campaign.
However, this year Humber became an ambassador campus for the campaign. The designation recognizes the college’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation and its pledge to address violence on campus.
Seright, who remarked that he saw more people wearing moose hide pins on campus this year than last (albeit there were fewer people at the college last year due to COVID-19), was extremely pleased that Humber had taken the step of becoming an ambassador for such an important campaign.
“For me, it (speaks) to Humber’s commitment to embed Indigenous ways of knowing and being into everything we do. It’s not just words, we’re taking action.”
During the CCAA Men's Basketball National Championship where the Humber Hawks defeated the St. Clair Saints to be crowned national champions, Indigenous Education and Engagement awarded medals made from moose hide and Indigenous beadwork in recognition of the Moose Hide Campaign.
“To my knowledge, this was the first time it’s ever been done,” said Seright.
As well, the championships were opened with a land acknowledgement and Indigenous Education and Engagement was at the tournament promoting the campaign while also distributing moose hide pins.
What really hit home for Seright was that players and coaches from the opposing teams came up to shake his hand and speak with him about the Moose Hide Campaign and the importance of it. Some of them were already aware of the campaign and its goals while others were not as familiar with it.
However, the amount of interest from those involved in the championships told him that their efforts to promote the campaign were making a difference.
Humber continues to annually recognize and support Indigenous-related events and initiatives, particularly related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People and Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Seright said the Moose Hide Campaign also aligns with Red Dress Day, which is held on May 5 and is is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“This is a massive issue nationally,” said Seright. “This isn’t something that’s happening overseas. This is happening right here in Canada.”
Seright said he wants to make the Moose Hide Campaign an annual event at Humber College to help raise even more awareness around it and its laudable goals.
To learn more about the Moose Hide Campaign, visit the website at moosehidecampaign.ca.