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Class celebrates Native footwear by reproducing it

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The Cherokee Nation will host a class on making moccasins 10 a.m. Tuesday at John Ross Museum, 22366 S. 530 Road, in Park Hill.

The class coincides with Native American Heritage Month and Rock Your Mocs Day, a day on which members of all tribes are encouraged to wear moccasins. Nov. 15 is this year’s national Rock Your Mocs Day.

“Rock Your Mocs Day allows Native Americans from across the country the opportunity to unite and share their cultural pride with everyone, whether it be in the workplace, at school or in photos on social media,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Tuesday’s moccasin-making class is limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Registration is $25 and may be completed at visitcherokeenation    .com. Attendees will make pucker-toe moccasins, a traditional style called puckered because of its furrowed, u-shaped vamp over the instep.

“By creating their own pair of moccasins, it allows the participants to connect with their culture and heritage,” Travis Owens, manager of cultural resources, planning and development for Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, said.

The process of making moccasins varies depending on style, Owens said. One method for pucker-toe moccasins involves tracing your foot on a piece of paper to make a pattern.

“This pattern is then transferred to deerskin, where necessary holes are punched that will later be used to stitch,” he said.

The maker brings the opposite sides of the skin together to stitch a center seam. It is then knotted, resulting in a tight fit around the foot with two flaps folded over each side.

“The moccasins can be worn in this condition or can be adorned with beadwork,” Owens said.

The class lasts four hours with a lunch break in the middle. Organizers hope attendees will wear the moccasins they create at the class on Rock Your Mocs Day and post images on social networking sites using the hashtag #RYM2014.

Rock Your Mocs Day began in 2011. Laguna Pueblo member Jessica Atsye saw a need for tribes to put away differences and spend a day celebrating collective heritage. Since its onset, it has steadily grown in participation, especially on sites like Facebook and Instagram.

The John Ross Museum participated in Rock Your Mocs Day for the first time last year. Their class quickly reached capacity, and Owens expects the same this year.

“We hope they are able to learn the basic skills to make more pairs in the future and share the techniques with friends and family,” Owens said. “There are Native Americans who work in companies and go to schools with non-Natives. So when they wear their moccasins on Nov. 15, it shows their pride for their culture and heritage and, hopefully, creates opportunities to share their stories with others.”

Print headline: Moc drop, A class in Park Hill teaches attendees how to make their own traditional kicks.

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