#followfriday - 4 Indigenous Influencers to Follow
By Erin Blondeau
The concept of social influencers has come a long way since the disastrous Fyre Festival. I am proud to follow influencers who courageously defend their identity and who amplify important causes. But most importantly, I am proud to follow influencers who can just be who they are.
Think: Indigenous sovereignty, traditional art and medicine, authenticity.
For this week’s #followfriday, we’ve compiled four inspirational Indigenous influencers for you to follow. Their content runs deeper than the typical norm of western capitalist society, and we're proud to showcase them on this platform.
Check them out:
Naiomi is a talented Diné (Navajo) weaver that grew up in Mesa, Arizona. Her instagram is highlighted with bright turquoise, desert red, and shades of blue that showcase her talent as an Indigenous artist. As I looked at her profile, a particular image caught my eye: she is dressed in a beautiful pleated skirt with turquoise jewellery and wearing Vans sneakers, skateboarding in front of a red rock backdrop. In other photos, she can be seen tending to ranching animals and practicing the art of weaving.
According to an article in the Navajo Times, Naiomi began skateboarding at the age of five as a way to cope with bullying. Because Naiomi was born with a bilateral cleft palate and lip, she often felt different from the other kids in Mesa where she grew up. In a video by Sephora with over 1.4 million views, Naiomi tells her story of growing up in a predominantly non-Indigenous area, as one of the only Indigenous kids at school. This was difficult as many of the kids would bully and tease her for looking different.
Naiomi speaks from a place of authenticity and I was moved by her gentle and articulate voice. Her light shines through her art, images, and social media presence. As an avid skateboarder, it’s only fitting that a TikTok video of Naiomi skateboarding down sandstone wearing a skirt and weaved sash went viral with over a million views.
When I look at Naiomi’s content, I find myself wanting to jump on a skateboard and be free to break the boundaries that society has placed around us. Follow Naiomi’s journey and feel inspired, awakened, and encouraged to connect with your Indigeneity.
Marika Sila is an Inuk actress, fire performer, hoop dancer, motivational speaker, and stunt performer. Her content balances a mix of personal life: her huskies running on the edge of a river with a picturesque mountain peak as a backdrop, and her precision as a performer and an athlete. Marika is a talented actress, having played the lead role in 'The Twilight Zone' as Sergeant Yuka Mongoyak, described on her website as "the first female Inuit police officer to attain the rank of Sergeant in the state of Alaska."
Marika is also an Indigenous activist, hosting empowerment programs for youth by raising awareness about sobriety, anti-bullying, and mental health. She has most recently taken on a project to centralize the wishes and calls to action of Indigenous community members on what the next step should be in the uncovering of children from Residential Schools. Marika will be creating a documentary to amplify Indigenous voices to hold the government accountable, and tell us how we can move forward in a good way. You can donate to the project here.
Maarsii to Marika for your excellent content and desire to help in Indigenous healing.
connect with Marika Silawebsite | youtube | tiktok | instagram
Tipler Teaches is the name of Megan Tipler’s valuable teachings. As a Métis living on Treaty 6 territory, she creates resources for teachers (and everyone else) to learn about Indigenous sovereignty and colonization, and to feature voices of other Indigenous people. On an Instagram post from July 7, Megan shows a compiled list of Indigenous books to share with the public. As an enthusiastic reader, Megan recalls the joy and comfort that reading as a child brought her, even confessing to keeping secret lights under her bed so she could sneak-read past her bedtime. But she acknowledges that the figures she read about were “overwhelmingly white.” Now, in an era of Indigenous resurgence, we have the power to choose books that amplify Indigenous voices and perspectives.
To all non-Indigenous people: follow Tipler Teaches on Instagram to continue your work as an ally––growing, learning, unlearning, and amplifying. To all Indigenous people: follow Tipler Teaches for a sense of empowerment and information on causes that will improve the lives of Indigenous students everywhere.
Megan’s work and emotional labour deserves to be tipped. You can pay Megan for her knowledge and insight here.
connect with Megan Tiplertwitter | instagram
I first found Arianna on Instagram when the name of her store caught my eye: Quw’utsun’ Made. As a Métis person living in traditional Quw’utsun’ Territory, I was excited to check out her profile. I saw her unique style and products, and have been a dedicated follower ever since!
Although she grew up here on the west coast on Vancouver Island, Arianna now lives and works on unceded Lummi territory in so-called Washington. Her shop includes products like moisturizing oils; fragrances made for beaders, carvers, and more; and stickers that make us proud to be Indigenous.
Arianna’s dedication to connecting traditional ancestral wisdom with contemporary healing products is what sets her apart from many other product-based influencers. In fact, she was even listed on Elle Canada as one of their seven featured Canadian changemakers.
She is open and transparent about her business on her Instagram, which from a consumer perspective, is very refreshing to see. Decolonization is what I look for when I shop, and Arianna Lauren does just that. If you want to be energized by style, Indigeneity, and healing products, Quw’utsun’ Made will be your new favourite Instagram account.
connect with Arianna Lauren