I met Wab Kinew at the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association Convention on Saturday evening. He was very polite and approachable at the event. People came up to him to have their pictures taken with him.
Kinew, the recently elected Leader of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party, is from my home town area of Kenora, Ontario. In fact, he went to the same residential school that my mother went to — St. Mary Indian Residential School near Kenora.
I did notice that he was wearing the Moose Hide Campaign button on his jacket.
According to the Moose Hide Campaign web site: The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Men who are standing up against violence towards women and children.
Wearing this moose hide signifies your commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in your life and to work together with other men to end violence against women and children.
Kinew even helped an Indigenous Elder up the stairs to get onto the stage. That is part of Wab’s personality people don’t see in public; respectable to one’s Elders.
During the Bernadette Smith provincial campaign over the summer, I saw him there helping out at a BBQ. He was there with his sons. I’ve known him to do a great job of balancing the political life and being a father.
No, I am not partial to the NDP or any political party. It was photo opportunity for me at the time. My camera lens wears no particular color, nor is it associated with any political party.
I did not ask Wab Kinew about the news stories that have been in the headlines recently. I see it as part of his past and I believe he has been working to change himself for the better. Part of that change is wearing the Moose Hide Button to silently let the world know of his opinion of violence against women.
We all have a past. If someone decides to change for the better going forward into the future, that is what we should judge a person’s character on; not on the wrongs of the past.
As a woman who has overcome an abusive relationship many years ago, I do have to admire Wab Kinew’s silent support of the Moose Hide Campaign and the meaning behind that small leather patch.