November 16, 2013

"Rock Your Mocs" Day

Friday was "Rock Your Mocs" Day in much of Indian country. Here's the scoop:

Showing pride through moccasins

San Juan College rocks their mocs

By Noel Lyn Smith
When Sherrie Benally put on her moccasins Friday morning, her 4-year-old daughter asked for a pair to wear to school.

Benally was surprised by her daughter's request but assured her that Santa Claus would deliver a pair. Benally said that moment made her proud because her daughter is taking pride in Navajo culture.

Celebrating Native American traditions was one reason 21-year-old Jessica "Jaylyn" Atsye, of Laguna Pueblo, started Rock Your Mocs in 2011. Via a social media campaign, Rock Your Mocs encourages people to wear moccasins one day a year in honor of Native Americans' cultures.

Atsye focused on moccasins because their usage is shared among tribes.

In a press release, Atsye said she hoped the day "will 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."
Native pride at heart of 'Rock Your Mocs' campaign

By Susan Montoya BryanElementary school students in western New Mexico are wearing their moccasins. So are students at Northern Arizona University, Purdue and the University of Michigan.

On the Cherokee Nation, there's a waiting list for Friday's moccasin-making class. And on a military base in Afghanistan, a soldier ties a beaded cross around her boot to symbolize her moccasins.

Friday is "Rock Your Mocs" Day.

Coinciding with Native American Heritage Month in the U.S., the social media campaign started by New Mexico student Jessica "Jaylyn" Atsye has gone global.

The 21-year-old Laguna Pueblo member says the idea was simple--to set aside one day each year to wear moccasins to celebrate the cultures of Native Americans and other indigenous people.
Get Ready to Rock Your Mocs! 20 Photos of Native Footwear Worn Proudly

It's Rock Your Mocs Day! Mocs Are Being Rocked [20 More Pictures]

Not well thought out?

But not everyone agrees with the idea of Rock Your Mocs:

"Rock Your Mocs" event spurs debate

By Michael McKayThe email immediately caught the attention of Elizabeth Winkler, an associate professor in the English Department.

Winkler, who identifies as Cherokee, said the presentation of the email “was not well thought out.”

Winkler sent back a message to Pillow and copied all faculty and staff saying, “A bunch of white people wearing moccasins honors diversity. Take a walk in my shoes… Seriously?”

Other faculty and staff sounded off on the event or the constant amount of emails, perpetuating a large stream of replies.

After participating in the email exchange, Victoria LaPoe, an assistant professor for the school of Journalism and Broadcasing, said that she feels that the “Rock Your Mocs” isn’t the most constructive way to talk about Native American culture.

“You should go spend time in the culture, spend time with natives, and I’m not saying that people on the email list weren’t doing this—but there needs to be a healthy debate.”
Comment:  So a professor feels "Rock Your Mocs" isn't the most constructive way to talk about Native culture? Well, it's not the least constructive way either.

I'd say it's fine as a one-day event. It's better than cheering an Indian mascot, certainly.

As the above articles indicate, I don't think the day is supposed to be a big educational effort. It's more about Indians demonstrating that they still exist and showing pride in their cultures.

Meanwhile, I tweeted the following:

I heard today is Rock Your Crocs Day so I wanted to join in the fun. #rockyourcrocs

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