A mother of three and self-taught baker who makes videos about life in Nunavut, especially Inuit food, was selected as one of 30 participants in Canada's first TikTok Accelerator program for Indigenous creators.
"It's just exciting," said Lori Ann Tulugak who lives in Naujaat and has made videos about caribou stew and maqtaaq, a traditional Inuit food consisting of raw whale.
The TikTok Indigenous accelerator program, which began Nov. 8, provides guidance, customized skills-based education sessions, hands-on exercises and connections with professional industry experts and peers.
Tulugak said she is learning about technical training, media career building, social responsibility and digital wellness.
The opportunity has been important, she said, because Northerners and especially Inuit, don't always get the same opportunities as others.
"Especially coming from a smaller community in Nunavut where everything is so hard to come by because we're up North and we don't really have these opportunities, I just thought I would give it a try."
Source of support
Lindsay Lynch, the director of creator partnerships and community at TikTok Canada, said an accelerator program focused on Indigenous content creators was the "natural next step" for the social media platform. It hosted a virtual creator event for the Indigenous community as part of National Indigenous History Month in June and has been organizing monthly webinars focused on best practices and content strategy for Indigenous creators since then.
"We know the power of discovery on TikTok — it's a launchpad for creators and their careers, a place where new talent is being discovered, and where fan bases are being cultivated," she said in an email.
"TikTok can unlock real-world opportunities both on and off the platform, providing a safe and inclusive space for Indigenous creators to tell their stories and share their cultural heritage with new audiences on a global scale."
According to Tulugak, the Indigenous accelerator program is also an important source of support for Inuit and other Indigenous content creators because they're sharing their culture and traditions with the rest of the world.
"It's important because we're important too and I would like people to know that we do exist and that we do have our own ways," Tulugak said.
The program runs until Dec. 17.