Young activist stands against violence with Moose Hide Campaign

CBC News asked Ottawa high school student Daxton Rhead for this thoughts on the Moose Hide Campaign and what it means to be a non-Indigenous advocate for the cause.

'I'm not Indigenous myself, but I know the importance of reconciliation'

Daxton Rhead, 18, says he's been working for reconciliation since the age of 11 and believes it's his civic duty as a non-Indigenous person to educate himself and pass on his knowledge to friends, family and his community. (Mario Carlucci/CBC)

As a non-Indigenous teenager, Daxton Rhead feels it's even more important for him to speak up for issues of reconciliation.

Rhead, 18, was among the 200 local high school students who attended this year's third annual Moose Hide Campaign gathering Thursday at Ottawa's Shaw Centre.

The idea for the campaign began when Paul Lacerte and his eldest daughter Raven were hunting moose along British Columbia's Highway of Tears, the isolated stretch of road where many women, mostly Indigenous, have disappeared or been found murdered.

Lacerte and his daughter realized they might come across human remains as they were hunting. The idea horrified them so much that they decided to start a grassroots movement to bring attention to violence against Indigenous women and girls.

CBC News asked Rhead for this thoughts on the Moose Hide Campaign, and what it means to be a non-Indigenous advocate for this cause.

CBC: Why take the time to attend this gathering?

Rhead: It's more than just skipping school. It's learning about an issue I didn't know a ton about before, learning about the statistics of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children, and really just participating, being involved and listening, hearing people's stories to make it real, to really understand what's going on in this country.

CBC: How long have you been involved in activism? Is it something your friends are into as well?

Rhead: I've been involved in reconciliation ... since I was 11 because I believe we can make Canada a better place and a more accepting place for everyone. My closest friends also do activism, and those who don't are very supportive of it.

CBC: What does it mean for you to wear that Moose Hide square on your lapel?

Rhead: I'm not Indigenous myself, but I know the importance of reconciliation. So I see that as my civic duty to be involved, be listening to people and be sharing what I've learned with my family and my friends and my community. It means I'm not going to support any violence against women or children. It means I'm going to stand up to violence, and standing up for women and children and listening to them and making sure this is a safe country for everyone.