Members of the Indigenous community sung the Women’s Warrior Song at the 5th annual Moose Hide Campaign, held May 12. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)

Members of the Indigenous community sung the Women’s Warrior Song at the 5th annual Moose Hide Campaign, held May 12. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)

LETTER: Supporting the 5th annual Moose Hide Campaign

Letter to the editor

To the editor,

I would like to send out a huge thank you to all who attended the 5th annual Moose Hide Campaign on May 12.

You were all there because you are the ones who were meant to be there. It was an amazing evening, and we could not have pulled it off without all the support of the community.

Over the past five years we have hosted this local Moose Hide Campaign, it has grown and the awareness is gaining momentum. The Aboriginal Cultural Centre has held free community gatherings for many years, focused on Indigenous content.

We are so happy to be able to finally come together once again to share conversations, information and create awareness. I appreciate all of you who joined us.

This gathering was not coming together for a celebration party, or an evening of fun — we were there to create the awareness of all our stolen sisters, our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters, our wives, our aunties, our friends.

I know that some of you are thinking what about the men and boys? What about all the other cultures? What about bullying? What about all the other bad things that are happening in the world?

We do recognize that and we are aware of these issues, but this night was all about this one issue: Our Indigenous murdered and missing women and children, and the awareness of the Highway of Tears.

This night we shared with all of you, the issues of being an Indigenous woman.

Did you know, that as Indigenous women are three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be victims of violence? Did you know, Indigenous women and girls make up 16 per cent of all female homicide victims and 11 per cent of missing women in Canada — even though Indigenous people make up only 4.3 per cent of the Indigenous population.

From 2001-2014, the average rate of homicides involving Indigenous female victims was four times higher than that of homicides involving non-Indigenous female victims. These are just a very few stats.

If you would like to learn more you can go to the Red Dress Project website or the Moose Hide Campaign website.

Remember, start the conversations, keep the conversations and the awareness going, wear your moose hide pin 365 days a year. Violence against women, girls, children and two-spirited people happen on a daily basis, not just this one day we gathered together. Indigenous and non-Indigenous people need to work together to make good things happen!

I want to personally thank everyone for being here and a very special thanks to: Melody Romeo, Cheryl Thomas, Kerry Milner-Cairns, John Thomas, Georgina Leppky, Richard Oudin, Brigette MacDougall and Sheila Nyman for all their help and support from beginning to the end.

To Banister, Trans Mountain, BC Metis Federation and the TNRD for financial support.

To all the volunteers that helped with set-up and cleaned up, with the biggest thanks to the Clearwater community.

Let us all move forward in a good way “all my relations.”

Yours in community spirit,

Cindy Wilgosh,

Clearwater MHC team

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