Indigenous culture is alive and constantly evolving, so appreciating Indigenous peoples’ unique heritage goes much farther then museum visits. Native Americans and other Indigenous people are using social media apps to share their culture with new audiences, and TikTok is a great platform to learn about the diversity among North America’s Indigenous peoples. The following TikTok accounts create videos that break stereotypes and address social and political issues that Indigenous people are facing today. Here are eight Indigenous TikTok stars that are using social media to educate followers on Indigenous culture.
1. Patrick Willie, @patrickisanavajo
Patrick Willie is the co-creator of a popular and humorous YouTube series called Natives React and is a professional hoop dancer from the Navajo (Diné) Nation. His TikTok, @patrickisanavajo, is a vehicle to share his incredible dance skills. One of his most viewed and impressive TikToks is the high-definition slow-motion clip, which is featured above.
2. Shina Novalinga, @shinanova
Follow Shina Novalinga, @shinanova, to learn about Inuit throat singing, which she performs with her mother. In other videos, Shina delivers an anti-bullying message and often advocates for tolerance and respect for other cultures. Her mother Caroline also started a TikTok account that is growing in popularity, which you can find here @kayuulanova.
3. James Jones, @notoriouscree
James Jones, otherwise known as @notoriouscree, often showcases his incredible traditional Hoop Dancing talent on TikTok. Jones is from the Tall Cree First Nation, and his content aims to educate, touching on subjects such as Cree (Nehiyaw) traditional regalia, the significance of his braids, and Indigenous history. One of his most popular videos discusses Indigenous identity and acceptance of diversity.
4. Tia Wood, @tiamiscihk
Jingle dancer and singer Tia Wood of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation uses TikTok to empower other Indigenous people. She uses the platform as an outlet to bring attention to important issues facing Indigenous women today. Follow her account @tiamiscihk.
5. Theland Kicknosway, @the_land
Theland Kicknosway, @the_land, grew a huge following on the app by producing videos with a positive message, often about Native pride and resilience. There’s singing, dancing, drumming, and even colorful LED hoops. He also promotes educational and political messages about movements such as Black Lives Matter and Indigenous reconciliation.
6. Kymon Palau, @kkymonn
Kymon Palau, @kkymonn, is a filmmaker of Tongan and Navajo (Diné) descent. His videos are humorous but also informative. His cooking tutorials are a must-see and give viewers a snapshot of Native foods like Navajo tacos. The channel is also a good cultural resource in general as he covers a wide range of topics, such as Native celebrities, cultural appropriation, and language skills.
7. Čanté Zephier, @dakotawinyan
Čanté Zephier, aka @dakotawinyan, is a great account to follow if you want to be an ally to Native Americans. She provides superb resources for Natives and non-Natives. She first went viral after she pointed out the double standard in the treatment of anti-lockdown protesters and Indigenous protesters at Standing Rock. Zephier describes herself as Ihanktonwan Dakota, Navajo, and Mexicana.
8. Patuk Glenn, @patukglenn
Patuk Glenn, @patukglenn, an Iñupiaq woman from Alaska, has one of the more interesting accounts to follow. Her videos follow her daily life covering everything from hunting methods to her favorite traditional foods and clothing. In one video, she walks viewers through an ice cellar where whale meat, seal, and other traditional foods are stored. This video and several others were pulled down by TikTok, incidents which she discusses on her account in other posts.