Canadas public TikTok

TikTok connects Indigenous women during pandemic

By Chevi Rabbit

For Ponoka News

Usage of the popular social media app TikTok increased since the start of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Many Indigenous women started using TikTok as a way to share their indigeneity and hobbies and to stay connected to others.

Jacqueline Buffalo, known as @jacquelinebuffalo on TikTok, is a bi-racial Cree woman from “Akamihk” (the Cree word for Montana First Nation), located in Maskwacis Alta. She is a model, actress and MMIW advocate. Over the pandemic, she has become quite popular on TikTok.

Buffalo started using TikTok at the start of the pandemic.

“Back in April 2020, after the pandemic I started and was immediately hooked,” said Buffalo.

Buffalo says she didn’t even know what TikTok was, but her daughter downloaded the app on her phone and she decided to make a few videos.

“I didn’t think anyone would see it,” she said.

“Suddenly, my Tik Tok was getting a lot of views and likes. The rest is history.”

Buffalo said, “I have had so many people message me or comment about how they love how I interact with them online. I try my best to interact with my followers in a positive way. I let people know they are not alone in such a crappy time in history.

“The pandemic is hard on a lot of people.”

When describing her TikTok content style she says, “It’s mainly comedy and sharing aspects of my culture. During the pandemic, I felt the world needed my humour and good vibes.”

Buffalo is involved in a a Native TikTok group called #Reztok created by Zachary Mann @Neighbourhoodneechie.

“We are a group of Indigenous content creators that are involved in Indigenous education, comedy and art,” said Buffalo.

Fawn Wood, known as @fawn.wood on TikTok, is a member of Saddlelake Cree Nation, a recording artist, and a masters in linguistics student and mother of three.

“My Tik ok content kind of varies. I do share music and stuff like that but I really enjoy sharing humorous things about motherhood,” said Wood.

“I really love the Indigenous humour side of TikTok. I started using it when the pandemic first hit. I didn’t expect to be creating content or to even gain too much of a following on the app,” she said.

“I started posting videos because I was stuck at home like everybody else and it was a form of uplifting myself.”

Wood says she was also inspired by videos of the MMIW movement where people were putting red hand prints over their mouth. In the background was her favourite song, “Remember Me.”

“My TikTok has increased and helped me a lot,” said Lyvia Bruno, known as @BunnyKinsnoda82 on TikTok, a Plains Cree Indigenous woman and Ponoka resident.

“It helped me on a good day. It helped with mental health wellness during this pandemic.”

Bruno explains that she found an online community through the TikTok that is supportive and non-judgmental.

“As a plus-size woman I found a lot of people uplifting and accepting,” said Bruno.

The Native TikTok content creators make a variety of videos.

“There are videos on food, traditional teaching, bead work and our traditional Indigenous ways of life,” said Bruno.

“My content is mainly movie impersonations. You feel that you can be yourself and there is no judgment. I have really gotten positive feedback on my humorous content and impersonations.”

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