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Celebrating Native American culture with ‘Rock Your Mocs Day’

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By Jill McLaughlin

Jessica “Jaylyn” Atsye didn’t realize she had started a worldwide movement. She just wanted to wear moccasins with her friends.

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Now, seven years later, her idea of “Rock Your Mocs Day” has exploded from a Facebook page into a worldwide celebration of Native American and indigenous culture.

“It was like a blessing in disguise you could say,” Atsye, a member of the Laguna Pueblo, said.

The 25-year-old recently moved back to New Mexico from Montana, and now has more than 22,000 followers from all over the world.

The New Mexico House of Representatives and the mayor of Santa Fe declared Wednesday “Rock Your Mocs Day” and an official event will be held at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. The event will feature remarks from Mayor Javier Gonzales, Tesuque Pueblo Governor Mark Mitchell, and State Rep. Derrick J. Lente. 

The speeches will be followed by a performance from the Acoma Pueblo Enchantment Dancers, a meet and greet with Atsye, a puppet play by the Institute of American Indian Arts students, a moccasin making demonstration, and much more. 

Atsye said this is the first year they attempted to have the day commemorated by the House of Representatives.
“It’s very exciting,” Atsye said. We kind of took a shot at it. We thought of it for a long time, and at the same time it was last minute. But we got it in there.”

Anyone can come out to join the celebration, she said. If they don’t have a pair of moccasins, they can wear a turquoise ribbon.

People from throughout the world are encouraged to participate in “Rock Your Mocs” week by wearing moccasins between Sundayt and Saturday and posting a photo or video on social media using the hashtag #RYM2017 or #RockYourMocs. If they don’t have moccasins, “Rock Your Mocs” can also be celebrated by wearing a turquoise awareness ribbon. 

This year, many events will take place, including at Los Alamos High School.

For Atsye, she said she encourages the younger generation to pursue their goals, like she has, building a small idea into a worldwide movement that has brought awareness of Native American culture throughout the world.

“I just want to say to the younger generation, if you have an idea don’t think that its too great or dumb,” she said. “The idea you might have may interest people and it may become great someday like ‘Rock Your Mocs.’ Live up to your dreams. As far as race, unity means everything”

For more information on “Rock Your Mocs” and to take part in the worldwide movement, visit facebook.com/RockYourMocs ,twitter/RockYourMocs, and instagram.com/RockYourMocs.