UNITED STATES — National Native American Heritage Month is celebrated each year in November and on this particular week, from Nov. 12 to 18, a worldwide event called “Rock your Mocs” encourages Indigenous people to wear moccasins wherever they go to celebrate their unity and Tribal individuality.
Nonprofit Rock Your Mocs encourages individuals, organizations, businesses, schools, museums and tribes to initiate their own local events.
“We honor our ancestors, and Indigenous peoples worldwide, during Rock Your Mocs events and commemorate National Native American Heritage Month,” Rock Your Mocs’ website says.
During Rock Your Mocs week, Native people share via social media a photo or video of themselves wearing moccasins and this creates an online platform for the world to see and enjoy.
The National Park Service brings attention to Rock Your Mocs every year and encourages Indigenous park visitors and employees to participate.
“As Indigenous peoples across the world celebrate Tribal individuality and share their traditional regalia in November and throughout the year, Rock Your Mocs is an opportunity for Native peoples across the country to express solidarity and embrace their identities by wearing traditional footwear,” NPS wrote in a Facebook post. “The National Park Service invites Indigenous employees, volunteers, and visitors to Rock Your Mocs in parks and share posts on social media using the hashtag #RockYourMocsInParks.”
Rock Your Mocs week began in New Mexico in 2011, as a single-day event to coincide with Native American Heritage Month. Its founder, Jaylyn Atsye, created the event as an opportunity for Native peoples across the country to express solidarity and embrace their identities by wearing traditional footwear.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs, this year’s theme of National Native American Heritage Month is ‘Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity.’ The U.S. DOI describes Tribal sovereignty as an assurance that any decisions about Tribes with regard to their property and citizens are made with their participation and consent.
“It is a time to celebrate the traditions, languages and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and affiliated Island communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation,” the U.S. DOI Indian Affairs states on their website.
To see people rocking their moccasins all over the world, use hashtags #RockYourMocs, #IndigenousHeritageMonth and #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth on social media.