Theland Kicknosway is joined by his mother Elaine to talk about how he got into TikTok and how he has been using his platform to educate on Indigenous practices.
Theland started using TikTok around the beginning of the pandemic, inspired by @Sherry.Mckay, an Indigenous content creator. “She’s amazing, and she speaks a whole lot of truth, and she's very funny as well. Her content is really nice. She's like that one Auntie that's got your back all the time,” Theland shares.
Theland started using TikTok around the beginning of 2020, starting with sharing snippets of native humour. “Then I started posting more stuff about me and my regalia, and indigenizing trends that were on at the time. Doing the normal dances that other TikTok users were doing, but doing it in my regalia.”
Theland consults with his family at the dinner table before anything gets shared on social media. They conference on the message behind his content, and what the purpose of posting it is.
“The greatest ideas for videos happened at our dinner table. The conversations that we have are just so awesome,” Theland explains.
“When we were at our table, I was like, Mom, I want to post a video talking about hair,” Theland shares that his content is a family effort.
“They're like, you should talk about braids. So these are all videos that have come to life because they started at our table,” Theland consults with his family on what he should share in his video about hair. “I'm not going to give every single thing away and put it on the internet, because there are some teachings that I learned, that we don't put everything out there.”
“So I posted the video, I went to bed, and I woke up the next day, and it hit like a million views. And I was like, Holy smokes, that's crazy! The video and the TikTok page just started growing and growing and growing. And by the time I got to my birthday, May 27 2020, I hit 100,000 followers.” Theland is a recent high school graduate, now with 400,000 followers.
“For the longest time, I never thought of myself as a content creator or like an influencer. But, you know, I think acknowledging those different titles is a good thing. When we're influencing, someone is able to speak up, and someone's able to share the voice of all of us, and share our voices.”
Theland was 16 at the time he started on TikTok, and his Mom shares, “As a parent, we've always discussed, what's the purpose? And why do we do it? And how do we deliver it with each other, because it's not singular, it's a community and family discussion.”
Every part of Theland’s content is for a purpose, and meant to uplift the community. A big part of that for Theland is bringing awareness to MMIWG2S+.
Theland will be running across Turtle Island this summer to raise awareness and donations for MMIWGS2+. To support "Theland’s Journey", visit his Facebook page, TikTok and donate.
Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com