The Children of All Nations Dance Group performs during Rock Your Mocs Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. The first-ever event celebrated Alaska Native culture. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

The Children of All Nations Dance Group performs during Rock Your Mocs Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. The first-ever event celebrated Alaska Native culture. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Culture celebrated with song, dance, art and more

First-ever Rock Your Mocs event held Saturday

The Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall was filled with the bright sights and sounds of a cultural celebration to Saturday afternoon.

The inaugural Rock Your Mocs event took place on a day more fit for Xtratufs than moccasins, but plenty of folks in regalia turned out for the event that celebrated Alaska Native culture with arts, crafts, song, dance, food and spoken word.

“We have various things on to remind us who we are,” said Marsha Hotch, Tlingit language educator for Goldbelt Heritage Foundation.

Goldbelt Heritage Foundation Executive Director Dionne Kadiente-Laiti explained the event was meant to further the foundations goals, including presenting youth leadership opportunities and language revitalization and preservation.

There were multiple opportunities for youths to sign up to become ambassadors for Goldbelt throughout the event, and youth mentors Justice Harris and Keisha Harris were present to make a recruitment pitch for teens between 14 and 18.

“We’re trying to get youth to engage in positive things,” Justice Harris said.

The event also coincided with Alaska Native Heritage Month and was part of a worldwide series of events called Rock Your Mocs that encourage indigenous pride.

Kadiente-Laiti said it wasn’t difficult to get Juneau’s first Rock your Mocs event off the ground, but she expects the event to expand.

“For us, particularly, it’s something that will continue to grow,” Kadiente-Laiti said.

Saturday’s event was already packed with activities.

Children of All Nations Dance Group performed dances on stage, Native languages professor Lance Twitchell with backing Goldbelt Heritage Foundation youth ambassadors led the crowd in a sing-along, door prizes were handed out and more.

Away from the stage were a number of stations, including a formline backdrop for photos and arts and crafts opportunities.

Youth ambassadors Shaylianna Kookesh and Natalie Bennett led a station that allowed people to make cards decorated with Tlingit designs.

“We thought it’d be something for kids or adults to do,” Bennett said.

Kookesh said she was a fan of the scrapbooking elements of the project.

At a nearby table master artist Abel Ryan led a formline station where he drew designs for younger children to color and instructed older attendees in formline.

“Either way, I’m having fun,” Ryan said.

One of the most popular activities was a tináa making station that received help from Herb (Kaaxtséen) Sheakley.

A gathering of folks pounded copper for the crafts outside the venue, and Sheakley helped string and bead them. Outside, Samuel P. (Kaax óo,téen) Sheakley lead the tináa making.

Others came with their handiwork already made.

Damen Christiansen brought a flute he made from artwork by Art Johnson.

He played “The Raven’s Call for Coffee” onstage.

Prior to his performance, Christiansen said the instrument played like a recorder, but had unique fingering that made the comparison difficult.

Twelve-year-old Taeyang Hassin brought some handmade mocassins to Rock Your Mocs, and he got to show them off.

He said they were the first shoes he’d ever made, and said he was pleased by their comfort.

“The inside is fluffy,” Hassin said.

Hassin also explained their outside design, which featured dogs with different-colored eyes that represented the same animal.

“I put my dog on the front,” Hassin said. “She’s a husky, so she has one blue eye and a brown eye.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Herb(Kaaxtséen) Sheakley works on a tináa while Raven (Kátíx’di) Sheakley, 7, looks on during Rock Your Mocs, a celebration of Alaska Native Culture held Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Herb(Kaaxtséen) Sheakley works on a tináa while Raven (Kátíx’di) Sheakley, 7, looks on during Rock Your Mocs, a celebration of Alaska Native Culture held Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Damen Christiansen played an instrument he completed at Rock Your Mocs, a celebration of Alaska Native culture held Saturday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Music, dance, food and multiple Native languages were part of the celebration.(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Damen Christiansen played an instrument he completed at Rock Your Mocs, a celebration of Alaska Native culture held Saturday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Music, dance, food and multiple Native languages were part of the celebration.(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Mary Hope, 4, colors in a formalize drawing by master artist Ryan Abel during Rock Your Mocs, a celebration of Alaska Native culture organized by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Mary Hope, 4, colors in a formalize drawing by master artist Ryan Abel during Rock Your Mocs, a celebration of Alaska Native culture organized by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives watch as votes are tallied on House Bill 50, the carbon storage legislation, on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House, seeking to boost oil and gas business, approves carbon storage bill

Story votes yes, Hannan votes no as governor-backed HB 50 sent to the state Senate for further work.

An illustration depicts a planned 12-acre education campus located on 42 acres in Juneau owned by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, which was announced during the opening of its annual tribal assembly Wednesday. (Image courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Tribal education campus, cultural immersion park unveiled as 89th annual Tlingit and Haida Assembly opens

State of the Tribe address emphasizes expanding geographical, cultural and economic “footprint.”

An aerial view of downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Task force to study additional short-term rental regulations favored by Juneau Assembly members

Operator registration requirement that took effect last year has 79% compliance rate, report states.

Cheer teams for Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé perform a joint routine between quarters of a Feb. 24 game between the girls’ basketball teams of both schools. It was possibly the final such local matchup, with all high school students scheduled to be consolidated into JDHS starting during the next school year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
State OKs school district’s consolidation plan; closed schools cannot reopen for at least seven years

Plans from color-coded moving boxes to adjusting bus routes well underway, district officials say.

In an undated image provided by Ken Hill/National Park Service, Alaska, the headwaters of the Ambler River in the Noatak National Preserve of Alaska, near where a proposed access road would end. The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a mining company to build a 211-mile industrial road through fragile Alaskan wilderness, handing a victory to environmentalists in an election year when the president wants to underscore his credentials as a climate leader and conservationist. (Ken Hill/National Park Service, Alaska via The New York Times)
Biden’s Interior Department said to reject industrial road through Alaskan wilderness

The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a mining company… Continue reading

Snow falls on the Alaska Capitol and the statue of William Henry Seward on Monday, April 1. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s carbon storage bill, once a revenue measure, is now seen as boon for oil and coal

Last year, when Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed legislation last year to allow… Continue reading

People staying at the city’s cold weather emergency shelter during its final night of operation board a bus bound for the Glory Hall and other locations in town early Tuesday morning. In the background are tour buses that a company says were broken into and damaged during the winter by people staying at the shelter, and one of the first cruise ships of the season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s homeless head outdoors with no official place to camp as warming shelter closes for season

“Everybody’s frantic. They’re probably all going to be sleeping on the streets by the stores again.”

Juneau’s Recycling Center and Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 5600 Tonsgard Court. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Recycleworks stops accepting dropoffs temporarily due to equipment failure

Manager of city facility hopes operations can resume by early next week

The Anchorage band Big Chimney Barn Dance performs in the main ballroom of Centennial Hall on Sunday night near the end of the 49th Annual Alaska Folk Festival. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
49th annual Alaska Folk Festival ends with promise of an ‘epic’ 50th

Weeklong event remains free after nearly a half-century “which is unheard of,” board president says.

Most Read