ROCKY BOY — Sneaker Heads across the globe can represent a piece of Montana’s indigenous heritage. Rebekah Jarvey is an indigenous fashionista based out of Havre, but her community is the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. It’s where she works and where her son, Royce recently graduated from high school.
In 2020, Rebekah created a relationship via social media with a Nike representative. As the connection grew, a promise was made that her art would be featured in an N7 fashion drop. Jarvey continued to work on her own fashion lines when she received the call that she would collaborate with Nike N7.
N7 is a fashion line of Nike that was released to the world in 2009. The goal is to promote diversity and inclusion and bridge the gap between Native Americans and the rest of the world. The N7 brand also raises money that can be put back into tribal communities across the United States.
Jarvey’s art is rooted in her lineage, family history, and her own fashion vision.
“I'm a fourth-generation bead and sewist, I’m currently teaching my son.”
Her passion for fashion comes from her grandmother’s beading, focusing on the Ojibwe-Chippewa flower and paying tribute to the past of her ancestors. The inspiration behind the design of the recent Nike SB Dunk Low Decon N7 sneaker.
“Rocky Boy was an Ojibwe chief and a Chippewa chief, and he founded that reservation for his people, and the flowers on the shoe are Chippewa and Ojibwe flowers. So, it has a deep meaning for my people.”
The flowers represent the elaborate colors typically seen in indigenous clothing and art. To this day, there is still a disconnect between white and indigenous cultures, these shoes help morph the two.
“A lot of non-natives don't know how to approach natives on how to be respectful and Nike, a global brand, is welcoming for non-natives to have a little piece of our history, our culture, and our heritage,” expressed Jarvey.
The Nike N7 collaboration with Rebekah Jarvey has opened doors for her son to be the face of the most recent fashion line. Royce is an 18-year-old graduate of Rocky Boy High School, he was flown to Los Angeles to model the shoes his mom designed for the multi-billion dollar company.
“We're finally being seen. We're finally being recognized as people. Our tribe, we represent, a lot of people are proud of that because we proudly show it. Our people at home, the ones that are still in the community, it just gives them more pride in who they are,” exclaimed Royce Jarvey.
The Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation is nestled near the center of Montana, you could consider it the heart of the state. With a population of …, the community can have a voice and an image on a national stage as the shoes dropped on the SNKRS App and sold out in six minutes.
Royce is different than most indigenous models, he wears his hair in dual braids that flow near his waste. In indigenous culture, a man’s hair is a representation of their strength and pride, during history, it wasn’t uncommon for that hair to be cut by the opposition, essentially stripping them of their values and beliefs.
“I like to represent myself and who I am. I like to show people that I have long hair and it feels good.”
The collaboration between the Jarvey duo is a step in the right direction for Indian Country. They feel it is showing young children on their reservation that no dream is too large.
“We must work ten times harder for the rest of the world to look at us and to recognize us for who we are as a people.” Rebekah explained, “To the young Native Americans who are on the reservation, I'm telling you to work hard and believe in yourself. That's all it takes.”
This opportunity is only the beginning for the pair. Royce is working on his five-generation salsa recipe and looking to market it. While Rebekah will continue her day job working for the Rocky Boy Agency and working diligently to share indigenous fashion with the world around her.
The two can be found on social media in the links below:
Facebook: Rebekah Jarvey Sewist
Facebook: Royce Jarvey
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