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Mohawk Tik Tokers Brings Culture to Followers – East Door

Courtesy Owen Skahion Wio Mayo

Owen Skahionwiio Mayo is known to nearly 25,000 TikTok followers as @modern_mohawk, and it’s clear that he’s loyal to his handle. In the comments section of his most popular video, there are many questions asking how a particular Mohawk is pronounced, the history of lacrosse, and the tradition of pow wow dance.

The first video pinned to his TikTok page shows a pow wow dance off between Mayonnaise and his brother in Wendak. When Mayo’s brother stops and kneels in the center, they are dancing in the arena with regalia.

“He knelt in honor, to respect me and my style,” Mayo explained in his video. “He proved that there was no competition with his family.”

Mayo’s grandparents were dancing even when the practice of indigenous culture was banned in Canada. His grandfather was oral history and his grandmother was a survivor of a housing school. His upbringing stands out in his TikTok content, where followers from various backgrounds find a safe space to ask questions, from cultural appropriation to full-time schools in India.

Mayonnaise was a championship pow wow dancer and said growing up in weekly or monthly dances made the pandemic particularly difficult. Not attending a pow wow or rally means that you cannot dance to live songs or drums.

“TikTok kept me connected when I felt very disconnected,” Mayo said. “So I decided to create some TikTok and share some of my knowledge.

“I never thought I would have as many followers in a million years as I do today.”

Mayo isn’t the only TikTok account to become popular in a pandemic. Katsi’tsaronhkwasStaceyPepin, a TikTok creator from Kanesatake, launched the app shortly before the pandemic, but it was just fun.

“I thought it was like Snapchat or Instagram, but then I started seeing what they were doing with other indigenous creators,” says Pepin. “I was.” C, I should start it too. ”

Courtesy Katsi’tsaronhkwasStaceyPepin

However, Pepin began receiving comments from trolls and racists, which prompted her to respond. She became known for her witty comeback and unabashed advocacy, and she gained over 56,000 followers.

In February, Pepin’s account was banned when he took over the supporters of a convoy flooded with apps. But that didn’t discourage Pepin a bit. Since she created her new account @katsitsaronhkwasiontiats, she has already attracted over 15,000 followers and is addressing issues such as anti-Indigenous and anti-Black species discrimination, abortion and fat shame.

“We all have a purpose in life,” Pepin said. “For me, the purpose of my life is to help people. I am the voice behind the screen trying to bring these messages forward.

“I’m trying to educate people. I use trolls for educational purposes and tell people not to be like this person.”

Pepin attributed her sense of purpose to her career orientation in law. She says she helped identify her own platform and advocacy by keeping her goals in mind. Pepin looks forward to starting her studies at McGill University’s Faculty of Law in the fall.

Like mayonnaise and pepin, Stephen Kenzieno: Ron Thompson began posting TikToks during the blockade of the pandemic. From Awkesasne, Thompson says he overlooked the art and culture he always knew and saw it as a way to connect with Onkwehón: we across Turtle Island.

Courtesy Stephen Kentsienó: Ron Thompson

“It was a place where I could really express who I was,” Thompson said. “But the main reason I’m using TikTok right now is because of my connections with other indigenous peoples.

“Hashtags help us connect. Share our stories, share our culture, share our songs, share our support for various injustices. And we are trying to heal and recover from those housing schools and colonizations that have affected us all. ”

Thompson’s TikTok page, with over 31,000 followers, is under the handle @stevestrr and brings a medley of education, laughter and growth. His videos cover a wide range of subjects, from the history of housing schools to his stories and everyday life. Thompson’s video has worked for Akwesasne television stations both in front of and behind the camera and features his strengths in video production and editing to bring joy to viewers.

“I just want to keep giving them culture,” Thompson said. “Good atmosphere, good energy. People are picked up. But our story is told many times by non-indigenous peoples, so to show who we really are as indigenous peoples.”

Courtesy Al Harrington

Al Harrington, creator of Ojibwe Tik Tok in Kanesatake, shares Thompson’s goal of using the platform to bring lightness and humor. As a community organizer, Harrington was more active on Facebook, touching on politics and activity in posts and live streams. But under the handle @ whitefeather43, he thinks everyone has a chance.

“I see a lot of adults under my age who spend a lot of time watching TikToks,” Harrington said. “As you know, you see smiles and people laughing … it’s all fun for me. People smile rather than see people quarrel and argue. I want to see you laugh. ”

When everything is told and done, Harrington considers his TikTok page a success if the most important people see them.

“My kids enjoy it when they see their dad making TikTok. They make me laugh because they say” you’re too old “. “Harrington said. “But what do you know, we created all these things for you. All this technology, all social media, born of our time.”