TikTok Canada acknowledges and celebrates Indigenous Peoples' traditional and contemporary roots to their lands, and we are grateful to share this space. We thank Indigenous creators, artists and small business owners for being a part of the TikTok community, and for trusting our platform as a space to share your stories, your knowledge, your culture and your joy.
Supporting local communities
This August, as we prepared to announce the return of the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute, wildfires spread across the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, forcing tens of thousands from their homes and having a devastating impact on communities throughout those regions. TikTok Canada is invested in supporting the incredible Indigenous creators who use the platform to share their stories and reclaim their identities - but we have to be safe off-platform, before we can thrive on-platform. Recognizing the particular impact of these wildfires on Indigenous peoples, we paused to reflect on how we could support immediate and ongoing relief, recovery and resiliency efforts. TikTok Canada is donating $300,000, divided equally between the United Way Northwest Territories and the Canadian Red Cross British Columbia Fires Appeal, to support all impacted communities, and are calling on our community, where possible, to donate too.
Return of the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute
Earlier this year, as part of our commitment to amplifying the stories of Indigenous communities and supporting the voices who continue to tear down barriers, we introduced our first-ever #IndigenousTikTok Visionary Voices, celebrating First Nations, Inuit and Métis creators and small businesses making a positive impact both on and off TikTok. We're proud that among these Visionary Voices was Willow Allen (@willow.allen), an alumni of our TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute. And we're thrilled to announce that the Accelerator program will return for the third year in a row, opening 40 spots for Indigenous participants in 2023 - applications are open now and, new this year, the program will be expanded to be open to Indigenous-owned small businesses as well!
The program returns this Fall, once again offering free, online, part-time sessions over six weeks, developed with both traditional and spiritual elements in mind and designed to empower up to 40 Indigenous creators to grow their online presence and learn the essential skills for a thriving digital career. Those enrolled in the program have access to learning from top TikTok creators, industry professionals and the TikTok team. The TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute, also sees the return of counsel from program advisor Sherry Mckay (@sherry.mckay), an Ojibway Anishinabe creator from Treaty 1 Territory, as well as program managers Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill, a filmmaker from Treaty 1 Territory, of Long Plain First Nation and Erica Wilson, a Saulteaux artist/community connector from Treaty 1 Territory.
"We're committed to amplifying Indigenous creators by providing a safe and inclusive platform for creators to share their voice," notes Sara Suri, Creator Education Lead, North America, TikTok. "And we are so pleased to once again be working with the National Screen Institute to bring this program to life, continuing our shared commitment to supporting diverse storytellers and their professional development."
“The TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators opens up incredible opportunities and community for Indigenous storytellers across Canada,” says program manager Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill. “If you’re passionate about storytelling and want to join the growing community of Indigenous creators on TikTok, this program is for you.”
A selection committee comprised of screen-industry professionals, TikTok staff and Indigenous TikTok creators will review applications. To be eligible, creators and small business owners applying to the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators must currently be active on TikTok (minimum of four public posts in the last 30 days). All eligible Indigenous TikTok creators are welcome to apply until Thursday, September 21, 2023, regardless of follower or view count.
As we continue seeking opportunities to better serve creators from outside large urban centres, we have made it a priority for creators in rural and remote areas, who are accepted to the program, to be able to apply for a stipend to help cover the cost of Internet fees above and beyond average use during the course of the training.
Creators selected to participate in the program will be announced this Fall. For full eligibility requirements, click here.