Honoring culture and individuality in an increasingly fast-paced, modern world is a challenge for the members of America's 574 federally recognized tribes. But one woman came up with a simple idea—that has since blossomed into an international movement—to empower Native people to express their culture.
Jessica "Jaylyn" Atsye of Laguna Pueblo is the founder of Rock Your Mocs (RYM), which began in 2011. It started as a social media event. One day in November, Native American Heritage Month, Jessica encouraged all Indigenous people worldwide to wear their moccasins in unity and post the images on social media. Since then, RYM has grown into a weeklong celebration of unity and diversity with organizations holding events worldwide. This year RYM falls between November 15-21.
Earlier this month, Native Hope partnered with St. Joseph's Indian School in a socially distanced RYM event at the school. Fifteen dancers Rocked Their Mocs and regalia.
Moccasins represent more than footwear to Native people. They are sacred and passed down through generations. Moccasins are a physical expression of the Native journey. Because Mother Earth (Unci Maka) is sacred, moccasins allow the People to tread on her with honor and respect. Wearing them for RYM keeps this tradition and others alive.
Jaylyn hopes RYM "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 & Native American Peoples and U.S.A.'s National Native American Heritage Month."
Native Hope celebrates Jaylyn's vision and enjoys Rocking Our Mocs each November. If you'd like to support RYM and don't own moccasins, wear a turquoise ribbon or shirt, November 15-21. #RockYourMocs #MyNativeHope