Last week TRU Indigenous Education and everyone on campus were invited to take part in the international campaign Rock Your Mocs. The campaign was created in support of worldwide Indigenous diversity by showcasing their art and designs in their moccasins.
Rock Your Mocs is celebrated during November because it is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. This campaign was later extended to last a whole week so new events could be celebrated at both school and work. The original day of celebration will always remain on Nov. 15.
Moccasins are a way in which people honour their ancestors and indigenous people around the world. It is an opportunity to unite and celebrate individuality and local artists. For Native people, moccasins are much more than footwear.
They get passed down from generations and since they are sacred, people use them to honour mother nature when they walk. Rock Your Mocs keeps these traditions alive.
Jessica Jaylyn Atsye from Laguna Pueblo, N.M., started the event in 2011 by inviting her Facebook friends to wear moccasins. The pictures went viral, and the event was picked up by organizers around the world.
Each year Rock Your Mocs grows and by 2019 the event was turned into a weeklong celebration.
This campaign encourages cultural pride and creates a safe space for Indigenous peoples to share their stories through pictures. It is also a great opportunity for the community to learn about the indigenous diversity that exists around them.
Each nation uses different styles, traditions and materials for its moccasins.
TRU has over 2,000 Indigenous students representing 16 nations, so the designs seen on campus will be unique to each group. Some might be decorated with flowers, bright colours or beads while others use more discrete tones and fur.
Some museums around the country created workshops taught by Indigenous artists where people could learn how to make their moccasins. Other exhibits have opened for National Native American Heritage Month.
While showing support is the main goal of this campaign, educating the community on Indigenous issues is also the main focus. This year especially, it is important that everyone is aware of their privileges and understands the need of helping the native nations we share a home with.
Since not all students have or can get moccasins for this week, a turquoise awareness ribbon was also an acceptable way to commemorate Indigenous diversity.