The moccasin has walked many trails in the footsteps of the Original People. From the Navajo and Sioux, to the nations of the Haudenosaunee, it has been crafted into many likenesses to sooth the soles of the people.
It has been said that the thin soles of the moccasin allowed the wearer to cause no damage to the plants and grasses they walked upon, and brought them closer to the earth. In the past, the moccasin was a statement of the people.
The creator of the moccasin could individualize the bead work adorning the vamp, or other areas of the foot wear. Haudenosaunee people were able to identify the nation of a moccasin wearer by the individual style, much like the way the feathers are adorned upon a Kastowah.
Recently, moccasins have become an often misappropriated statement of the fashion world. However, with the announcement of Rock Your Mocs Day, the true colors of what moccasins represent to the each nation has surfaced.
I witnessed both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students at Hagersville Secondary School support the day, and spread the awareness of November as Indigenous Awareness Month. Social media sites flowed with pictures of families, siblings, and people coming together with their moccasins. Even friendly comparison between different styles took place.
In my own experience, November 15th was a day for giving back. By wearing a pair of moccasins a powerful sense of connection could be experienced. I hoped that even non-Indigenous supporters of the day could feel the same, even if their pair of ‘mocs’ came from a shop or boutique. It was definitely a day to rejoice in ancestral reverberation, and pride in our own ability to come together as one people.
The date of the creation of the moccasin is unknown, but it is believed to be as old as the people that wear it.
This adds to the knowledge that the Moccasin is America’s first footwear, and that we are still here. Rock Your Mocs Day will grow and spread, and be even more of an experience in the years to come.