There are many inspiring Indigenous creators educating millions on TikTok with their content. As we wrap the fourth week of our Native American Heritage Month celebration, meet @giiwedinindizhinikaaz, @indigenouszane, @nayhamills2, and @reynachabeli, the next group of creators featured in our spotlight series!
Meet the Creators
@giiwedinindizhinikaaz Giiwedin [he/him] is an Ojibwe water protector from northern Minnesota who loves to share about his culture and experiences as a Native youth. He is a college student who is a STEM major and a climate activist who hopes to see climate conversations center Indigenous peoples.
@indigenouszane Zane Switzer [he/him], better known as Indigenous Zane or Zane Achak Ashkii, is a 20-year-old Sunni-Muslim Indigenous person of Nahua and Otomi descent, who loves to educate people on Indigenous history; such as states named after Indigenous words, history about tribes, Indigenous languages, and more.
@nayhamills2 Nayha Mills [she/her] is a Native makeup artist who inspires young Native youth to pursue their dreams and continue their Native culture. Mills has grown up on the Yakama Reservation all her life, and attends Yakama Nation Tribal school where she plays volleyball, basketball and track.
@reynachabeli Reyna Chabeli [she/her] is a Zapotec graphic artist from Oaxaca, Mexico whose artwork and TikTok videos are geared towards the visibility of Indigenous People of Mexico, reminding viewers that Indigenous languages and traditions are still alive today.
Creators on What Community Means to Them
What does it mean to you to be part of the Indigenous community?
@giiwedinindizhinikaaz: Belonging to the Indigenous community to me is by default, resistance against colonization. After all we have been through, we are still here. We are still here, and we are as diverse and beautiful as ever! We are still here, and we are protecting the water and defending the land! We are still here, and we are reconnecting, learning our languages and practicing our culture.
@indigenouszane: I feel honored. I feel important and I feel special.
@reynachabeli: Being Indigenous means that I am able to pass on my native language and traditions to the younger generation. It makes me hopeful that my People will continue to prosper.
How has your culture influenced or shaped you?
@giiwedinindizhinikaaz: My culture has shaped me by providing me with the tools and courage to stand up for what is right – standing up in a good way, that is led with love, even if it makes me uncomfortable! The earth can’t speak for her rights, the water can’t speak for her rights, and the animals can’t either. So if not them? Then who? Us Indigenous people!
@nayhamills2: I believe my culture has shaped me to be the strong woman I am today – by making me proud to show my traditions and beliefs to those who know little to nothing about the native people. It has influenced me to make these makeup videos to educate people on problems going on in the native community and how to help.
How do you share your culture both on and off of TikTok?
@giiwedinindizhinikaaz: I share my culture on TikTok through fun videos either with trending audios, or my own original audios where I talk and teach. As for how I share it off of TikTok, I share and teach (language and plant knowledge) at different water protector gatherings or events.
@indigenouszane: On TikTok, I make videos about indigenous history, tribes, cultures and languages. Off of the platform, I share the videos I make with the world, and also make public speeches in my city (Troy, Ohio).
@nayhamills2: I make awareness videos about important news going on in the native community. I also like to make funny videos to help natives understand that we all are the same and go through the same struggles in a humorous manner. Off of the platform, I post on Facebook and Instagram to pave a way for those who may not have TikTok.
@reynachabeli: On TikTok, I like to make videos about my experience growing up in my Indigenous pueblo in Oaxaca. Off of TikTok, I sell both mezcal and Oaxacan embroidery pieces to help my family back home.
How has the TikTok community inspired you?
@giiwedinindizhinikaaz: The TikTok community has inspired me to build a platform for myself to educate and advocate for my community. TikTok itself is a community and that’s what I love about the app!
@indigenouszane: It’s made me realize that I love doing what I do: making videos and educating people. They have inspired me to keep going and keep on doing what I love to do and make an impact on peoples lives.
@nayhamills2: Seeing other natives like myself relating on so many different things has inspired me to share more about my culture and my many difficult experiences. Overall, the TikTok community has inspired me to not be ashamed of my people’s past trauma, but to overcome it by sharing with the TikTok community.
What are some content creation tips you would offer to other creators?
@giiwedinindizhinikaaz: Don’t get too bit picky about how you look, the little things you notice are not what other folks are interested in. They’re interested in hearing the messages we have to share!
Who are some Indigenous TikTok creators that everyone should be following/watching?