Nathan Apodaca: Everyone’s new cousin
Indian Country Today
“Is 100 likes good?” Nathan Apodaca asked his daughter after uploading his first set of TikTok videos two years ago.
Fast-forward, and the Northern Arapaho TikToker has become a beacon of hope and positive vibes after his viral video skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” was seen by millions.
Since uploading it at the end of September, he has received 8 million likes on TikTok and counting. The throwback song garnered its best-ever weekly streams. And the Ocean Spray juice company gifted Apodaca a truck loaded with crates of juice.
Many in Indian Country were quick to notice the tattoo on the back of Apodaca’s head, which depicts a pair of feathers. They’re now excited to cheer him on.
In an interview with Indian Country Today, Apodaca, 37, said the feathers represent his mother’s side of the family. She is Northern Arapaho and grew up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
While Apodaca grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, he says he remembers trips to the Wind River rez. The reservation is home to two tribal nations, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho.
“We would go visit them [family] all the time in the past,” Apodaca said. The top half of the feathers depict a Northern Arapaho flag. He hopes to get another tattoo on the other side of his head to represent his dad’s side, which is Mexican.
“I just want to say to the Indigenous people out there, stay strong. I know times are tough right now, especially on the rez,” Apodaca said.
Prior to his viral video, Apodaca had been producing TikTok content with the help of his daughters, Angelia and Makyla.
His first viral video, posted last year, hit 1.2 million views in two days. The video showed him dancing to “Get Up” by Ciara. From that video, he built his following until he had more than 136,000 followers.
Shortly after, he decided to launch a line of shirts and beanies he embroidered himself. Now Apodaca has a line of merchandise including sweatshirts and T-shirts that feature a screenshot of him skating with juice.
Public figures including musicians, actors and influencers have shared Apodaca’s latest viral video. When asked which figure has meant the most to him, Apodaca said Bizzy Bone, a rapper with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, as well as Jay and Silent Bob.
He says his social media platforms have garnered so many messages that it’s been hard to keep up. He recently signed with a talent agency and hired a manager.
“As soon as I signed with her [Gina, his manager], she just took off. It’s been crazy. And she’s getting excited like no other,” Apodaca said.
In the meantime, Apodaca says he is getting used to life after going viral. He plans to continue producing content and being himself, which is what bolstered his popularity to begin with.
He also says he will continue to encourage Natives on TikTok.
“To the Indigenous people, get out there and make videos, go do what you want because I’ve been seeing a lot of Natives on TikTok just blowing up. Follow your fellow Natives, follow each other,” Apodaca said. “Be one with each other. One nation, we rise.”
Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at email@example.com.
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