Every year, indigenous people from across the country celebrate an entire week in November known as “Rock Your Mocs.” The Week of Nov. 13-19 is Rock Your Moc week this year. For Native people across the United States – into Canada and below the border in Mexico – the week is about honoring culture and showing pride in who you are.
“[moccasins] are what literally connects me to Mother Earth and keeps me grounded,” said Chairman Byrd.
Quapaw Nation officially joined in the celebration in 2020, and has spent the past two years continuing to raise awareness in recognition of the event.
The event originally began in 2011 and was created by Jessica “Jaylyn” Atsye of the Laguna Pueblo tribe. Atsye said that she wanted to highlight and give opportunity for Native people to express solidarity and “embrace their identities.”
Atsye was only 19 when she was inspired to create the event. “We had just got finished with our traditional ceremonies and I was wearing my moccasins and I kind of just looked at them like, ‘I wish we could wear these every day,’” said Atsye in a 2020 interview with Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Facebook had recently released its create your own event tab and Atsye expressed that she drew inspiration of the event title from slang terms such as “rocking my shades.”
According to nativehope.org Jaylyn has hopes that Rock Your Mocs “will continue to reach even further worldwide and inspire cultural pride for Native Americans wherever they may be, as well as anyone who would just like to participate in a fun way of celebrating Indigenous and Native American Peoples and U.S.A.’s National Native American Heritage Month.”
The event has a website, rockyourmocs.org that gives more information on the event and has a shop where individuals can order t-shirts, connect through social and find events across the nation.