Young Cree woman uses TikTok to share and educate others on Indigenous culture

A young Cree woman in Winnipeg is making headlines for promoting her culture through video-sharing platform TikTok, and now she’s garnered the attention of the popular American online publication Teen Vogue.

Michelle Chubb has been creating educational and sometimes satirical videos on Indigenous culture for the platform since January.

The 23-year-old is known as indigenous_baddie to her more than 310,000 followers. Her videos have amassed more than 10 million likes.

Chubb turned to TikTok to dispel some of the stereotypes she was seeing on the platform before joining.

“There wasn’t much Native representation on TikTok…people were representing us in a wrong way that kind of made me send out more messages just to clarify that misleading information,” said Chubb.

This has since changed and Chubb is among a small group of young Indigenous folks across Turtle Island using TikTok to educate and honour their culture including James Jones from Tall Cree First Nation in Alberta, Theland Kicknosway from Walpole Island, Bkejwanong Territory in southern Ontario and Patuk Glenn an Iñupiaq woman from Alaska.

Her videos range in theme with some including tutorials on how to bead or history lessons on the healing components of the jingle dress dance (Chubb herself an experienced pow wow dancer), while others poke fun at “rez” life.

But all are based on Chubb’s own life experiences.

She spent a lot of her life in Winnipeg and has ties to Bunibonibee and Pimicikamak Cree Nations in northern Manitoba where her mooshum instilled a deep love of their Cree culture in all his grandchildren.

Michelle Chubb’s grandfather William McKay taught his grandchildren how to live the traditional life. He passed away in 2008. Submitted photo.

“He showed a lot of us important things in the traditional life and the spiritual life,” Chubb remembers fondly.

When he died in 2008 Chubb admits she lost her way. After she graduated high school she returned to the traditional life and what her mooshum taught her.

The love she has for her culture was recently showcased in an online article for Teen Vogue in honour of Native American Heritage Month in the United States.

The online publication profiled several young Indigenous peoples on resiliency and what it means to be a “change maker” in 2020.

In the fall they reached out to Chubb to do an interview and photo shoot.

She said she was speechless and likened the opportunity to receiving a gift she didn’t even know she wanted, “it [was] a big surprise.”

Since the article dropped last week Chubb continues to make headlines.

And while she’s happy to continue showcasing her culture, she hopes to one day model professionally.

“I just picture myself on a runway.”

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