QUAPAW — The Quapaw Nation organized its first-ever Quapaws Rock Your Mocs Day,
To celebrate the event, tribal employees wore their moccasins to work Friday, Nov. 20. Tribal members from across the nation were encouraged to wear their moccasins and post their photos on social media with Quapaw Nation hashtags.
“I am proud of our Quapaw heritage. And loved being able to share our moccasins for the day, even if it is just a small part of who we are,” Business Committee member Michelle Newton said.
The annual Rock Your Mocs event started in 2011 when Jessica Jaylyn of the Laguna Pueblo tribe created Rock Your Mocs— a day when indigenous peoples would wear their moccasins and post photos on social media.
Originally, she chose Nov. 15 — the middle of Native American Heritage Month. However, this year, because of the pandemic, RYM was a weeklong event Nov. 15-21.
Thanks to social media, RYM caught on and has been going strong since its first year.
Jaylyn incorporated her idea during Native American Heritage month.
"As Indigenous people, we should stand united through our tribal individuality, symbolically wear our moccasins, honor our ancestors, and indigenous peoples worldwide, during Rock Your Mocs and National Native American Heritage Month," Jaylyn said.
Native American Heritage Month was passed on August 3, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush’s bill. It read, in part, that “the President has authorized and requested to call upon Federal, State and local Governments, groups and organizations and the people of the United States to observe November with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.” Now, the month of November is commonly called Native American Heritage month.
Here's how Natives across the nation participate.
People wear their moccasins, take photos or videos, add the hashtag #RockYourMocs and upload to social media. This creates an online photo album for the world to see and others to enjoy.
Additionally individuals, organizations, casinos, schools, museums and tribes are taking the initiative to create their own independent events throughout the world.
Public Relations Director Anna McKibben-Pipestem said she hopes the Quapaw Nation makes Rock Your Mocs an annual event.
“It’s important to let people know who we are and that we’re still here. I hope we continue doing this for years to come, and it grows each year,” she said.