Indian Community School students spent 11 weeks learning about different types of moccasins, how to make them, and prepared for this year's Rock Your Mocs Week, which was November 14th-18th. In case you didn't know, Rock Your Mocs was established in 2011, and is a worldwide Native American event held each November as part of National Native American Heritage Month.
The Our Ways team worked with our teaching staff, especially music and art teachers, to help our students learn the design components and elements of moccasin-making. Younger students worked on essential skills such as learning how to thread a needle and basic hand sewing; learning how to develop decorative designs for vamps and cuffs, and the basics of beading and pattern-making. Older students took things a step further in learning the different styles of moccasins of our various tribal Nations, pattern-making, and sewing felt versions of moccasins. Upper-grade students learned to make their own personal pair of mocassins for Rock Your Mocs, with the goal of having our 8th graders able to wear their moccasins on graduation in early June.
Rock Your Mocs is an all-school activity that encourages everyone to get in on the fun! Each of our classrooms joined the Rock Your Mocs Door Decorating Contest, and this year's winners (7th-grade/Ms. Scott and 2nd-grade/Ms. Dropik), won a traveling trophy and a pizza party. Students were also encouraged to design the annual Rock Your Mocs t-shirt, which for this year's lucky winners (Lauralee, Tessa and Yakohlolihe), was printed onto t-shirts and distributed to all ICS students and staff. During Rock Your Mocs Week, students and staff were encouraged to "dress up" in fun/silly/meaningful ways while wearing their moccasins. A Walk/Run was also scheduled but weather conditions didn't allow for it this year, but our students were ready! We also learned about Haudenosaunee Earth Dances, which everyone enjoyed on the last day of Rock Your Mocs Week.
Howah, kāēqten-āēq?, howaa, ó•sthe•, wow — was it a spectacular celebration! We combined our last day of Rock Your Mocs with an amazing Fall Feast, of which ICS families, students, staff and the community were invited to join! After the Feast, we invited ICS Alumni to a very special celebration of Earth Dances. The Longhouse Singers, who were our cultural guests earlier in the day, were a part of the Alumni Celebration that night as well.
Rock Your Mocs is much more than teaching and learning — it's an opportunity to celebrate tribal diversity, use our languages, sing and dance, connect to culture, and build capacity. Each year that we participate in Rock Your Mocs, more of our students learn the skill of moccasin-making and have the opportunity to rock them all year long! As they continue to grow and mature, they can take their moccasin-making skills with them. When they outgrow or wear out their first pair of moccasins, they will have the knowledge needed to make a new pair, and can even teach others along the way. We're proud of what our students have accomplished and grateful to Our Ways for making Rock Your Mocs 2022 possible!