The app, once known to be brimming with gen Z, posting dance challenges, lip-syncs, and viral trends, has become increasingly political in recent times. Yes, I’m talking about TikTok.
TikTok has become an unexpected channel for making social and political statements about the Black Lives Matter movement, climate change, and LGBTQ+ issues. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to deliver a compendium of information in short bursts of minute-long videos. Concise, creative, and highly engaging, these videos serve as discussion points and act as vehicles to further educate ourselves and take meaningful action.
Indigenous creates on TikTok are also using the app to share their culture with wider audiences. Whether it’s for breaking stereotypes, highlighting cultural aspects, or educating audiences about issues Indigenous people face today, here are nine TikTok stars you should follow.
James Jones, otherwise known as notoriouscree, aims to educate people about his roots and raise awareness of traditional Cree regalia, the significance of his braids, and Indigenous history. Based in Edmonton, James has more than 2 million followers on TikTok and often posts his Hoop Dancing videos.
17-year-old Jingle dancer and singer Tia Wood is from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and uses the platform to empower other Indigenous people and bring attention to important issues facing Indigenous women today to her 1 million followers.
Cante Zephier is an excellent account to follow if you want to be an ally to Native Americans. She provides fantastic resources for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. She went viral after posting a video in which she pointed out the double standard in the treatment between anti-lockdown protestors and Indigenous protestors at Standing Rock.
Our very own Cody Coyote, who is as diverse as he is talented – the host of 95.7 ELMNT FM’s The Beat, owner of Indigenous Focus, Bimaadiziwincollective and full-time artist and performer. Cody has a TikTok page full of motivational videos aimed at Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences and highlights some of the challenges Indigenous people face.
Follow her to learn about Inuit throat singing, which she performs with her mother. In other videos, she shares anti-bullying messages and often advocates for tolerance and respect for different cultures.
Patuk Glenn, an Inupiaq woman from Alaska, has one of the most interesting accounts to follow. Her videos follow her daily life covering everything from hunting methods to her favourite traditional foods and clothing. In one video, she even walks viewers through an ice cellar where whale meat and other traditional foods are stored.
Patrick Willie is the co-creator of a popular humorous YouTube series called Natives React. But on the side, he is also an incredibly talented hoop dancer from the Navajo Nation. He uses TikTok to share his dance skills and shed light on other issues.
The 17-year-old hoop dancer is carrying the tradition on social media. His videos are truly mesmerizing, and he has a significant presence with the Indigenous youth in the community.
Michelle Chubb is a 23-year-old Winnipeg-based Cree woman making headlines for promoting Indigenous culture on TikTok. She even garnered attention from Teen Vogue! Her videos range from beading tutorials to history lessons and poking fun at the ‘rez’ life. With more than 310,000 followers, her videos have amassed more than 10 million likes.