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Sinead Hickey
ASU Cronkite

One swipe and watching a 60-second video, at most, is all it takes to learn about other cultures on TikTok. Especially Indigenous cultures.

The social media app TikTok has become a space of learning and community for many of its users. This information is not new but many cultures are sharing knowledge. Why on this specific app?

This four-part TikTok series, plus an additional video to introduce the voices telling the story, explores why these content creators have chosen TikTok as one of their platforms to share their Indigenous cultures.

Find the series on Indian Country Today's TikTok (@indiancountrytoday). 

Part 1: Why

TikTok was a place people found entertainment and community during a time of social isolation due to COVID-19. Many of the content creators started their TikTok accounts to ease boredom and soon realized the demand there is for knowledge about Indigenous people.

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Part 2: How

This second video explains why TikTok is the chosen platform to distribute cultural knowledge. Videos posted can be created completely inside the app, no outside editing is required. If a user comes across an audio from a video they like while scrolling, the user is able to use the same audio to create their own video. The content creators felt more of a connection to their audience, sharing genuine content and answering curiosities from their audience.

Part 3: Who

These content creators explain who is the target audience for the content creators. Sharing these cultures is for people outside the communities to gain more of an understanding and insight, as well as for young people inside the community to see representation of themselves in mainstream social media. The content creators wanted to make sure Indigenous youth see people like them doing a variety of jobs and having different lifestyles.

Part 4: What

The last video focuses on the importance of why these content creators are making and sharing videos. TikTok videos can be silly but can also have powerful messaging. TikTok has given a space for people to creatively tell their stories while also providing learning opportunities when one scrolls upon #NativeTikTok and #IndigenousTikTok videos.

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Content creator handles: @scottwabano @ohkairyn @sherry.mckay @tapahe @ticakes2.0

Researchers handles: @bondykaye @yousrimarzouki