We’re already well into November, which is National Native American Heritage Month, so I can’t think of a better time than now to honor our native friends.
Before I dive into this post, I want to clarify that the men and woman about the featured here are from both the US and Canada. I didn’t think it was fair to limit awesomeness when I found it, so this is why I didn’t specify at first.
Some of you know that I’m not native. You might be asking why I’m writing this post at all, since I’m a white girl of Italian and UK ancestry. Well, it’s true that, yes, I’m white. However, I don’t believe in ignoring the fact that I can use my skillset to honor our native friends. I’m a writer. I’m a creator. I want to create to change perspectives that are harmful within our society, and that’s what I hope to do with this post.
While native persecution is documented in American history, as a white girl growing up in Pittsburgh we honestly didn’t discuss any of those atrocities in depth. They weren’t “our” stories, or “local” stories. I didn’t even see a native “in real life” until moving to the Midwest. I had never seen firsthand how natives are treated in our country until a trip to South Dakota in the summer of 2017.
I’d gone to the bathroom at a gas station just outside of Rapid City. While I was in there, my husband must’ve struck up a conversation with a native man which continued as I approached them. I startled the native man, though I didn’t mean to. The man was hoping to find someone who would hold his artwork for him so he didn’t have to take it into the bathroom with him, which we offered to do for him. My husband told me he’d been ignored by others in the gas station and couldn’t find a spot to leave his art. When he returned, we gave him back his drawings and he then shared them with us. Then, we went our separate ways. No harm, no foul. The fact that he’d been ignored, however, bothered me.
When I connected with a friend from college who’d moved to Rapid City for work on that same trip, she confirmed that there was some racial tension in the area and harmful stereotypes against native people.
Those stereotypes and harmful acts of aggression have got to stop.
I shouldn’t have to humanize humans, but I hope that this post will serve that purpose. Let me introduce you to some wonderful native social media accounts that have taught me so much about a beautiful culture.
- Natalie Franklin: Total chill vibes right here. I love Natalie’s love of nature and the fact that she shows us what life is like on a reservation.
She’s amazing on YouTube too!
- Notorious Cree: TikTok king, and a new favorite Instagram follow for me. I already knew about Smoke Signals (watch it if you haven’t!) but James brought Dance Me Outside to my attention too. He’s just a regular dude doing regular stuff, while also loving powwow dances.
- Alicia Mae: Need some workout inspo? She’s your girl! I’m so here for the body positivity with this one.
- Tia Wood: It is so beautiful to see a woman so proud of her ancestry. Tia shows this using music, fashion, and so many other creative outlets. Check her out!
- kendrajessie: Love her passion for makeup, fashion, and beauty! You get some great tips from her. She’ll also direct you to some native owned clothing brands too!
I truly hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these cool accounts. Let me know if you like them! Would love to feature more.