California and Native Tiktokers: all you need to know about this great cultural trend.

Barbara Fava
In February 2014, in El Mayor, Baja, Mexico, Inocencia Gonzalez Saiz waves burning sage over a dry marsh.Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

If you are used to scrolling through the For you Page of Tiktok, you know that very often you will see videos coming from what is defined as "Native / Indigenous TikTok".

Since the young generation had access to the internet and opened accounts on the video platform, it is more and more common to see celebrations of the Native American community.

They show on video, how they comb and style their hair, how their amazing costumes are made, the story behind dances.

And, above everything, they show to the world how proud they are of their uses and costumes.

I have been mesmerized countless times by these videos, getting lost in what is a neverending rabbit hole of glorious videos.

Native American dances are very rich in symbolism, and they tell stories.
Lance TsosieLance Tsosie Instagram

A few months ago, I shared on my social media a video of an impressive tribe dancing.

I was surprised by the number of people who didn't know or that it was still possible to find people with these traditions alive today.

"My daughter is part Cherokee, and she taught me a lot about her culture," wrote one of the comments on that post, "I actually didn't know how to do a lot of things before.

"I had to teach myself a lot of things," agreed another one.

TikTok and Native videos.
Lance TsosieLance Tsosie Instagram

I have seen that the videos on Tiktok are more and more frequent, and this has increased even my curiosity.

Over the past few months, the hashtag #NativeTikTok has reached up more than 2.3 billion views.

There was a time when indigenous people were not allowed to sing and dance.

And now, they are doing it loud and proud on social media, which is heartwarming and supported by millions of people.

And the trend luckily is picking up fast here in California as well, especially in the Los Angeles and San Diego area.

About the Native Californian tribes, Wikipedia gives a bright idea about the situation:

With over forty groups trying to be federally recognized tribes, California has the largest population of Native Americans out of any state in the United States, with 723,000 identifying as Native. The cultural area does not conform to the State of California's boundaries. Many tribes on the eastern border with Nevada are classified as Great Basin tribes. And some tribes on the Oregon border are classified as Plateau tribes. Tribes in Baja California who do not cross into California are classified as indigenous peoples of Mexico.

Over 50,000 indigenous people live in Los Angeles alone.

Erin Tapahe and the cultural lessons.
Erin Tapahe in a screenshot of one of her videosErin Tapahe

Erin Tapahe is a 23 years old woman from Arizona and known as @Tapahe on TikTok.

Erin uses her account to show the similarities and differences between her life as a Navajo and the lives of non-Native TikTok users.

She teaches typical phrases, numbers, and maths, and elementary notions in the Navajo language.

Tapahe is using her TikTok channel to share love, hope, and information during the pandemic times.

COVID-19 has killed more than 602,000 people in the U.S., according to the last reports on Google and the virus is severely impacting Native communities.

Tapahe sadly reported how some members of her family have died from the Coronavirus.

One of the trending hashtags for the Californian Indigenous Tribes is #Choinumni.

Choinumni, one of the many tribes of Yokuts Indians that lived in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

Rena Picaso and the art of beading.
Some of the beading creations of Rena.Rena Picaso

Rena Picaso is another user of TikTok who dedicates several videos to her heritages.

She is based in Fresno, Southern California, and shares her culture through beautiful songs and beaded creations.

Her biography states how she loves her dog, a bulldog named Buddha, singing, and beading.

Beading is as well her job as she has her own shop where she sells her lovely jewels.

She is a Choinumni of the fifth generation.

One of the trending hashtags for Choinumni is #ChoinumniNews.

Her account honors her roots and great-grandmother.

The posts are mainly about the progress of their tribe and their way of life.

Lance Tsosie, 1 million followers, and counting.
Lance TsosieLance Tsosie Instagram

Lance Tsosie also uses TikTok to educate people about his culture.

Some videos show him fighting bullies by answering racist videos, while others talk about his culture, books, or Navajo history.

We are all looking forward to the positive growth of the community in California.

And the recognition of the rights not only in the State; but all over the Country.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

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Italian as the espresso and currently based in Belgium, born in 1986 in Milan, I work as a communication specialist, a blogger as well as a professional sports announcer, mainly for motocross and freestyle motocross. I post about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and travels. I have been living in Los Angeles and Mexico City until 2019, where I worked as a stunt woman, to relocate then back to Europe.


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