Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

How #NativeTikTok is Preserving Indigenous Cultures and Inspiring a Younger Generation

“We’re not just relics of the past”

By Li Cohen, CBS News

TikTok, the mobile application that quickly became a defining cultural aspect of 2020, is most known as a platform where dances and comedy videos go viral. But Native and Indigenous individuals are also using the app to challenge stereotypes about their cultures, and let the world know they are “not just relics of the past.”

Over the past few months, the hashtag #NativeTikTok has racked up more than 1.3 billion views. One popular creator is James Jones, a performer, artist and cultural educator from Alberta, Canada, who identifies as Cree. Jones, who is known as @notoriouscree to his 2.4 million TikTok followers, told CBS News his goal is to use the platform 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. “That’s one of the really good things I like about TikTok is that you get to see a lot of Indigenous creators, artists … just in their everyday life. You get to see them doing everyday things.”

He said his account is dedicated to putting a “cultural spin” on trending content. In his first viral video, Jones dressed in traditional regalia and showcased hoop dancing to the song “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd. The video, posted on April 1, has been viewed more than 2.4 million times, and Jones said he gained roughly 100,000 followers from that post alone.

In several videos, Jones explains the hoop dance is done to tell stories and “for those in need of healing.”

“We tell stories with our hoops using the teachings of Mother Earth,” the text reads on one video. “We’re all in this together, and we’re only going to move forward by supporting and helping each other.”

Read the full story here.