Follow These 8 Indigenous Influencers, Activists, and Artists

When someone mentions, “influencer”, a grid of images featuring perfect makeup, outfits, and scenic backdrops may come to mind. But this is a narrow interpretation of the term, resulting in the overlooking of beautiful individuals blurring the lines of activism, culture, work, and popularity. In fact, there are hundreds, if not thousands of influencers using social media as a means to leverage the commerce of likes for a more equitable, just world. And to showcase some of the top examples of this in action, check out these eight Indigenous influencers, activists, and artists who are totally worth a follow.

Tomás Karmelo Amaya | @tomaskarmelo

Naiomi Glasses performs a skateboard trick while wearing a skirt and Native American beadwork.

Amaya is A:shiwi, Rarámuri, and Yoeme. Professionally, he’s a director, writer, photographer, co-founder, and instructor. His Instagram feed reveals what happens behind the scenes of his photography projects, along with snapshots into the intersection of urban lifestyles and Native culture. Check out his website for available prints.

Alana Yazzie | @TheFancyNavajo

Alana Yazzie holds up a blue corn cookie.

Yazzie is from the Navajo nation and a full-time content creator spotlighting her Native roots at the intersection of all thing’s lifestyle. Her perfectly color-coordinated feed features mouth-watering fry-bread tacos and envy-making blue corn cake. After a short scroll, it’s likely you’ll want to double-tap every photo.

James Jones | @notoriouscree

James Jones looks directly at the camera in full Native American dress.

Jones is Nehîyaw and an entrepreneur. With over 1 million followers and a full feature in @VogueMagazine, he’s someone you should follow. Jones feed is popular for the powwow dance tutorials and drumbeats synced to pop-up text to educate non-Native followers about the community.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez | @xiuhtezcatl

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez holds his hands up on his head looking distraught among a yellow background.

Martinez is a descendent of Meshika or Aztek people. He’s also a black-clad, hip-hop artist and intrepid climate activist. He uses his social media platform to speak out on global warming with his lyrics, dances, and camera-facing commentary. When he was 18-years old, Martinez joined 21 other students to sue the Trump administration for inaction around climate change. So no, he isn’t only talking to his followers. He’s following after the powerful, too.

Sarain Fox | @SarainFox

Sarain Fox takes a selfie with a warm, autumn sunset as the background.

Fox is Anishinaabekwe, host of RISE on Viceland, artist, content creator, and director. Her feed gently blends into Instagram as an unassuming appearance typical of an influencer and lifestyle blogger––think perfectly coordinated outfits and adorable baby photos. But in-between all these are powerful statements about holding the powerful to account over tainted water on Indigenous lands and encouraging her community to get out and vote for their rights.

Ryan Oliverius | @ryanoliverius

The photographers dog lays in the tall, dry grass at dusk.

Oliverius is Syilx and Okanagan. He’s also a professional photographer who captures powerful images of landscapes, Native models, and other reflections on his culture.

Quannah Chasinghorse | @quannah.rose

Quannah Racinghorse squats in front of a lettering mimicking the Hollywood sign. The letters spell out Indian Land.

Chasinghorse is from the Raven Clan of the Han Gwich’in tribe and Sicangu Oglala Lakota tribe. And she’s giving full representation to her Native roots on the runway of high fashion. With traditional facial tattoos on full display, she captured the cover of @VogueMexico. When she isn’t modeling, you may find her on the front lines of a public protest holding the megaphone as she demands attention to the deafening silence on violence committed toward Indigenous women.

Shina Nova | @ShinaNova

Shina Nova smiles into the camera with rose colored cheeks and nose, along with beaded jewelry.

Nova is a proud Inuk and a phenomenal throat singer. She uses her social media feed to educate others about the Inuit traditions, practices, and current concerns affecting the community. What really garners viewers is her throat singing, where the sounds are equally soothing as they are haunting. Taking the listener to an intimately beautiful practice that feels like a privilege to share in it.

 

These are only a few exceptionally talented, beautiful, and inspiration-driven people for your news feed. If you feel we missed someone worth mentioning, let us know by messaging on our IG feed or emailing the author at Thomas_guzowski@redlands.edu.

All images are the property of their respective owners.
By Thomas Guzowski, U of R Employee
Thomas Guzowski, U of R Employee Assistant Director of Marketing Thomas Guzowski, U of R Employee