Celebrate and learn about Indigenous cultures during Rock Your Mocs week. Participate on social media using #rockyourmocsCU.
About Rock Your Mocs
Rock Your Mocs is an annual week-long campaign starting November 15 that promotes cultural pride by encouraging Indigenous peoples to share their stories through posting photos of their moccasins. It’s an opportunity for the Concordia community to learn about the diversity of Indigenous peoples and support local Indigenous communities. Join the celebration on social media using #rockyourmocsCU.
Rocking Those Mocs: Pride, Strength and Unity is a panel discussion that invites Indigenous community members to discuss how they are wearing their pride and empowering their communities.
Long story! Ahem… I trade in items required for ceremony which requires a different collection of ethical requirements. My cousin needed an eagle bustle and I needed new moccs and leggings. So I traded a moose decoy, a bush whacker, and a chainsaw to my hunter friend up north. Sometimes junior eagles get caught in the wolf traps and so he trades them down south. Anyhoot, trading can take several years to complete but I finally got my new moccs.
I drew a pic of a flower I saw in a dream and cousin Bill bought the beads. These went to the Beaders who came back with the most amazing pair of legs ever to walk this fine earth! In short, they are made of our dreams. (Sometimes we ask questions and get answers we weren’t looking for. For more insight into this, take my course this winter FPST 322- Sacred Stories.)
Brooke Rice is a Kanien’keha:ka graduate student, studying in the Master of Arts Individualized Program, Social Science: “Honouring the Gifts Our Ancestors Left Behind: Leading by Exemplary Kinnections.”
She is also a Concordia alumni, having graduated with a BA in First Peoples Studies and Human Relations. Brooke made her own moccasins out of deer leather, ribbon, size 10-11-13 beads, velveteen and sinew.
I really enjoyed the process of creativity, patience, and perseverance. There are moments when the thread snaps or the needle breaks and I just want to quit but with a few deep breaths I get back to it. The toughest part is choosing colours! So many beautiful colours to choose from and imagining how they come together for the final creation.
Too many to choose from! I love the community and family vibe created at the ASRC. I would say the most impactful memory for me was helping organize First Voices Week, bringing in traditional foods for the “Food Sovereignty” discussion and meeting other Onkwehon:we students.
It means proudly taking up space in a colonial setting. I have felt supported enough to reclaim my power and voice my values. It means challenging the system whenever I can and making impactful changes for the future students to come. The school provides space for us to be seen and offers numerous resources to create events for us by us.
I got to witness my friend's beautiful traditional wedding ceremony in Arizona. People came from all over to be a part of their union and people were adorned in beautiful regalia that reflected their culture. Also, all the sings (a gathering across the confederacy to share new social songs and to see family and friends), great law recitals and ceremonies they attended with me.
It shows our ability to evolve and adapt. We are using social media platforms to connect with all our relatives by showcasing our creations with pride. It keeps us connected to our ancestors while forging new paths forward for the future generations. It shows the youth to be proud of who they are and not to be ashamed to wear their culture, especially in a time of mainstream society that promotes fast fashion. I love seeing all the Indigenous folks beading, sewing, creating and being noticed for their work.
Wearing my moccasins empower me because it connects to my ancestors and the land. Depending on the skin used for the moccasin, each animal has a spirit that holds unique traits. The deer represents gentleness, sensitivity and intuition. When I wear my mocs it reminds me to tread lightly on Mother Earth and to believe in my intuition. I feel very proud to wear the moccasins.
Craig Commanda is Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi. He is currently in his fourth year of his undergrad in Film Production. Craig made his own moccasins from Moose leather, rabbit fur and Sinew.
To have pride in oneself as an Indigenous person surviving the settler state’s machinations.
Dr. Elizabeth Fast
Elizabeth Fast is Manitoba Métis, born in St. François-Xavier. She is a tenured professor, Associate Professor in Applied Human Sciences and has worked at Concordia since 2015. Her area of research is land-based learning by and for Indigenous youth, centering urban, indigiqueer, trans and two-spirit youth guidance and experiences. Elizabeth made her own moccasins from moose hide and fox fur.
I learnt the beadwork (Métis floral beadwork) from Métis artist Jaime Koebel-Morse. I learnt how to sew from my mom and I taught myself how to sew moccasins with the help of the book: Maskisina: A guide to Northern-Style Métis Moccasins by Gregory Scofield and Amy Briley (with Sherry Farrell Racette).
There are a few styles from different regions across our homeland but from what I understand the vamps are usually Métis floral beadwork on hide or cloth and the rest of the moc is home-tanned moose hide, with beaver fur as the trim (traditional). Now there are several more contemporary styles.
My brother gifted me a gorgeous pair of knee-high mukluks from the Métis-owned company Manitoba Mukluks a few winters ago. They have travelled everywhere with me including a winter gathering that was organized by my research project Land as our Teacher. I remember wearing them on a very cold night last February in a wood cabin surrounded by 45 youth, community members and Elders who had come together to learn about building shelters, trapping, wellness and partake in teachings guided by Elders from several different nations. I was so humbled by the spirit of community and all of the work that our team had done to make this amazing gathering come to life.