#NativeTikTok Makes its Debut

Indigenous and Native TikTokers use TikTok to showcase experiences, culture and traditions


Photo by thetyee.ca

Indigenous TikTok creators showcase their videos.

Samiah Lewis, Writer

    Over the past year, the hashtag #NativeTikTok has accumulated nearly four billion views on TikTok, a mobile application that has swiftly become a defining cultural aspect of 2021. Native and Indigenous individuals are using TikTok to challenge stereotypes about their cultures, provide insight on various Indigenous cultures, and preserve their many cultures to inspire younger generations. 

            Shina Novalinga, a well-known figure on #NativeTikTok, shares her Inuit culture across the globe with millions of people. She is widely known for her throat singing videos with her mother, which utilizes multiple vocal techniques that involve short, sharp, rhythmic inhalations and exhalations of breath. In an interview with POPSUGAR, a news outlet that empowers women, Novalinga states that Inuit throat singing was at risk of extinction after years of erasure by colonists and missionaries, but Novalinga shares the tradition for a new generation. 

“Throat singing is important to me because it helps me connect with my roots and my ancestors. Throat singing had also helped me build a stronger connection with my mom. We had almost lost that part of our culture and it’s a way for me to revive this tradition,” Novalinga said. 

She also showcases different traditional outfits handcrafted by her mother. In an interview with Nunatsiaq News, a newspaper of record for the Nunavut and Nunavik territory of Quebec, Novalinga stated that other Inuit have contacted her online to inform her that people are beginning to notice their traditional clothing in public. 

“They’re happy that more people are acknowledging and appreciating our unique culture because not a lot of people knew about it,” Novalinga said. 

Naty Morales (11) agrees with this statement; acknowledging that she knew little about Indigenous communities until she started seeing the showcasing of different Indigenous cultures on TikTok. 

“I remember watching Shina Novalinga for the first time; I was so intrigued. I didn’t know much about Indigenous culture until I started following her. She taught me a lot of things about Inuit culture, it was so beautiful and educational,” Morales said. 

Novalinga also states that she’s been working with other Indigenous people, like James Jones, who is a traditional hoop dance artist on #NativeTikTok. 

Jones is considered a performer, artist and cultural educator from Alberta, Canada, who identifies as Cree. Jones tells CBS News his goal is to use TikTok to show the world that Native and Indigenous individuals are “still here.”  

“I think a lot of people, especially here in North America, are just being reminded that Indigenous people are still here, and we’re not just relics of the past,” Jones told CBS News. 

Brett Mooswa, an Indigenous TikTok content creator who creates comical videos pertaining to Indigenous community, agrees with Jones. 

“As an Indigenous person, a lot of our stories are shunned and pushed into the background,” Mooswa, a member of the Plains Cree people, said. “I feel like it’s very important to have our stories and our culture at the forefront.” 

Jackson Griffith (11), an avid TikTok user, relays that he loves learning about Indigenous culture. 

“I feel like there’s not a lot of coverage on Indigenous people and their cultures. I didn’t know much about their cultures until I downloaded the app. I like seeing what Indigenous creators do in their everyday lives, it’s always something different and unique every day,” Griffith said.