Students create traditional native footwear on campus


There was a calm, peaceful atmosphere as Native American music played in the background. With leather, thick thread and buckskin needles students were taught how to stitch their own moccasins together.

Over a dozen students gathered to learn while Geraldine Jim, a Native American woman, taught them the basics of moccasin making. Participants would come to her with questions about the work they were doing on their moccasins. Jim has many years of experience with sewing and had one word to summarize needle and thread method: “patience.”

Jim helps Harmony Lajok, student, with the technical aspects of making moccasins.i
Jim helps Harmony Lajok, student, with the technical aspects of making moccasins.i

In the four hours that the workshop lasted, it didn’t seem like anybody really finished their moccasins. Jim remarked, “could have done it in ten minutes with a sewing machine.”

COCC student, Harmony Lajko, said “my fingers are gonna be sore” after working on her moccasins for a few hours.

However, students were allowed to stay in the multicultural center after the event was over, so that they could continue to work on their moccasins.

The event’s organizer, Gina Ricketts, Native American program coordinator, and is an Native American rights activist. She invited all participants to a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest in Downtown Bend that took place immediately after moccasin making.

Ricketts spoke at the event and had a very clear message in regards to recent developments of the NO DAPL protests, “fight violence not with violence, but with prayer, with peace.”


By Larry Farrington | The Broadside



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