Category: Events, Institute, Staff

Date: November 15, 2023

Rock Your Mocs: A Celebration of Native American Culture and Unity

Have you ever wondered what those colorful and intricate shoes that some Native Americans wear are called? They are moccasins, or mocs for short, and they are more than just footwear. They are a symbol of Native American culture, identity, and history. And every year, in November, Native Americans from all over the world join together to celebrate their heritage by wearing their mocs and sharing their stories on social media. This is Rock Your Mocs, a global movement that aims to honor the ancestors, raise awareness, and show pride in being Native.

Rock Your Mocs was started in 2011 by Jessica “Jaylyn” Atsye, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe in New Mexico. She came up with the idea of creating a social media event that would encourage Native Americans to wear their mocs on one day in November, which is National Native American Heritage Month in the U.S. She wanted to create a positive and fun way for Native Americans to express their culture and individuality, and to connect with each other across different tribes and nations. She also wanted to educate the non-Native public about the diversity and richness of Native American cultures, and to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions that often surround them.

Since then, Rock Your Mocs has grown into a week-long celebration that takes place from November 12 to 18, with the original day being November 15. Native Americans from all walks of life participate in Rock Your Mocs by wearing their mocs wherever they go, whether it is to school, work, or a special event. They also take photos or videos of themselves rocking their mocs, and post them on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, using the hashtag #RockYourMocs. By doing so, they create a virtual community of Native Americans who share their stories, experiences, and perspectives, and who support and inspire each other.

Rock Your Mocs is not only a social media event, but also a cultural and educational one. Many Native American organizations, schools, and communities host events and activities related to Rock Your Mocs, such as workshops, presentations, performances, art exhibits, and fashion shows. These events and activities provide opportunities for Native Americans to learn more about their own and other tribes’ cultures, traditions, and histories, and to celebrate their common values and goals. They also provide opportunities for non-Native people to learn more about Native American cultures and issues, and to engage in respectful and meaningful dialogue with Native Americans.

Rock Your Mocs is more than just a fashion statement. It is a statement of pride, solidarity, and resilience. It is a way of honoring the past, celebrating the present, and envisioning the future. It is a way of saying that Native Americans are still here, and that they are proud of who they are and where they come from. It is a way of saying that Native Americans are diverse, but also united. It is a way of saying that Native Americans rock.



Dr. Riley is an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe of New Mexico. She has worked in the field of social work for over 23 years and is currently the Director of the Native American Social Work Studies Institute. Her passion is working with people and teaching and learning new things.


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