Last Friday, November 15, was the day to Rock Your Mocs, as in moccasins (as seen in this USA Today story).
Started by a student in New Mexico, Rock Your Mocs has become a day for native peoples to wear indigenous footwear and share their culture.
Rock Your Mocs caught my eye because it reminded me of the Radiators for Norway promotional campaign. Rock Your Mocs is not ironic like the Radiators campaign, but they share a common aim: using promotion to change the image and discussion around communities and cultures that are sometimes disadvantaged and often stereotyped.
Here on the west coast of the U.S., I think most people associate Native American culture today with casino gambling, rural poverty, alcoholism, and government cheese. As Sherman Alexie jokes in one of his poems, seemingly every Indian in the movies comes from a horse culture (Alexie’s Spokane tribal heritage centered on salmon fishing and river culture).
When all we see and hear of Native American culture are horses, booze, and slot machines, it shapes and limits our perception of Native America. In marketing terms, it severely limits and negatively effects the brand we hold about Native Americans. Rock Your Mocs is a great way to reclaim the brand and the dialog.