The National Screen Institute and TikTok Canada proudly congratulate the first graduating class of the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators.
In an online ceremony on December 17, 28 creators celebrated their achievements after completing this six week program, where they learned the key elements of storytelling and essential building blocks for a successful digital career.
The graduation ceremony live stream was emceed by program advisor and Indigenous creator Sherry Mckay and kicked off with a showcase of TikTok collab projects completed during training. Guests were honoured with a prayer from Elder, Allen Sutherland. A musical performance from Fawn Wood closed out the event.
Through this program, creators participated in customized, skills-based education sessions, hands-on exercises and developed connections with professional industry experts and peers. The curriculum was designed with traditional elements.
“The fundamental skills participants have developed through the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators are the essential first steps to a successful online presence,” said program advisor Sherry Mckay. “My ultimate hope for all the participants is they’ve felt a surge of empowerment in their spirit to keep moving forward with their digital storytelling”
Congratulations to all the graduates. Each creator has shared a short reflection on their time in the program below.
Star Anderson – Winnipeg, MB
Small opportunities are often the beginning of great achievements. You can do anything you put your mind to!
TikTok handle: staranderson1
Lynn-Marie Angus – Vancouver, BC
I am so happy to have found my TikTok family! Indigenous people are rising, and I am proud to be a part of our resurgence. TikTok has given us a platform and opportunity to connect with our people and share our ancestral knowledge.
Thea Arthurson – Oliver, BC
This program has helped me to both expand and narrow my ideas for future endeavours in content creation. In six weeks I’ve gained confidence and power to walk a more clear path, and I also gained a new family to enjoy this journey with! Kinanaskomitin.
Eagle Blackbird – Wallaceburg, ON
After learning all the great techniques and teachings throughout this program, it [made] me more confident [about] myself [as a] content creator. This program didn’t just give me a voice to be heard, but all the other students [too]. Everyone that participated in this group are future storytellers!
Erin Brillon – Courtenay, BC
I felt supported to just keep posting and sharing, and inspired by the success of other Indigenous creators.
Vanessa Brousseau – Welland, ON
This program has not only provided me [with] the tools to create the best content but also the understanding of how to tell my stories the way I want them to be told. I feel ready to share my truth with the world!
Daniel Cutknife – Wetaskiwin, AB
I learned to be motivated.
Celeste Day Rider – Lethbridge, AB
[This] program has taught me how to be comfortable with myself on the app. Besides the great knowledge that was shared with me within our weekly sessions, this program has gained me the confidence to continue my online journey. I feel heard as a Native TikTok creator, and empowered!
Jenny Kay Dupuis – North York, ON
[This] program offered me an outstanding opportunity to learn about how to develop content for TikTok in a culturally rich environment.
Sebastian Gaskin – Winnipeg, MB
Attending [this program] was such a great experience. Not only was I given the tools to become successful on the app, I was also given the gift of community, and have become a member of a family of innovative Native creatives.
Hailey Hamelin-Wilson – Edmonton, AB
Confidence and belonging on TikTok as an Indigenous creator.
Penína Sara-Lynn Harding – Prince George, BC
I feel better informed about the responsibilities that come with being a content creator. I understand how social content and social media differ and the way my content can influence society’s knowledge of Indigenous excellence in post-secondary studies. I can use my TikTok page to expand that understanding.
Crystal Harrison Collin – Sioux Lookout, ON
Our voices, our presence, our medicine is important and we deserve the space.
Billi-J Heavy Shields – Standoff, AB
Many of us were not born with light, this is why Creator blessed us with more then enough light to share with the world when in darkness.
Deanne Hupfield – Toronto, ON
I was a complete noob on TikTok but with the support if this program I grew exponentially over the last six weeks. I loved meeting all of the presenters and all of the content creators. Miigwech for all your support!
Jocelyn Joe-Strack – Whitehorse, YT
Over the past six weeks I have learned so much and feel belonging to the amazing Indigenous TikTok community. I have already put several of my new skills to use in my work and am thinking about new ways to share knowledge and contribute to the Indigenous journey of healing, learning and leading.
Christina King – Tuktoyaktuk, NWT
As I got to know the other creators in the program, I realized how wonderfully passionate, talented, creative and dedicated we all are toward creating excellent Indigenous content. Content that positively represents our nations, cultures, traditional knowledge, western knowledge from an Indigenous lens, social justice awareness, our humour and what it means to be Indigenous in modern times.
I never thought it was possible for someone like me to make a living as a content creator. Being chosen from candidates across Canada for the inaugural program made me realize that TikTok Canada and the National Screen Institute value what I’m doing, they value my message, my content and they see potential in me to grow and expand my presence as a content creator. They gave me the tools, skills and support I need to continue to be successful, making this into a viable career opportunity while doing what I love.
Richard Lush – Springvale, PEI
Since day one of this program, we found a new family that we could lean on, we found a community that would support, learn and listen to us, and we found a new found love for this video sharing app. Without this program, I would have quit the app and moved on in life, now I am considering becoming a full-time content creator like my mentors. Thank you for giving us a chance to use our voices.
Brennen McGuire – Shannonville, ON
During the short length of this program, I learned that community is EVERYTHING. Sharing your stories is an important aspect of content creation and finding the middle ground between those two things will ultimately determine your success.
Zachary Mann – Winnipeg, MB
Don’t be afraid to live your best life full of love and happiness. No amount of money will ever fulfil your life like love and happiness could.
Shania Morin – Saskatoon, SK
Tansi! I feel a lot more confident since I’ve finished to program. I’m truly grateful for all the knowledge that was passed to all of us along the way; we learned so much! I want to thank Sherry Mckay, the National Screen Institute, TikTok Canada for facilitating this amazing program. Nanaskomon (I am grateful). Hiy Hiy.
Sean Morriseau – Thunder Bay, ON
I learned a lot about myself and about the Indigenous community and how to navigate TikTok as a creator, expand my career and take it to the next level.
Matthew Brian Shorting – Winnipeg, MB
I’ve gained new awareness, connections and mastery of the app.
Kailey Simon – Elsipogtog, NB
[This] program truly helped me get out of my shell. I learned how to navigate my social media presence not only on TikTok, but across other platforms. I look forward to creating more content!
Jessica Taylor – Regina, SK
I learned so much from this program and the people who were chosen. I learned that lighting and editing are key components to be successful in content creation. I feel more confident in creating content on all social platforms. I hope to see this program as a regular thing for individuals in the future.
Kesha Tipewan – Saskatoon, SK
Being in the program pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and it was amazing. I finally brought ideas to life that I was scared to create and they turned out deadly. I had accountability and mentoring which was a plus. This is just the beginning of my journey on being a successful content creator. I’m excited to see what amazing opportunities are out there for me. Aho.
Lori Ann Tulugak-Kopak – Naujaat, NU
Great program to take especially for the Indigenous people who do not have the proper support for these types of programs.
Xavier Watso – Montreal, QC
Having the chance to meet and connect with such incredible Indigenous creators was a blast. I’m very lucky to have been chosen for the program and I hope it has a long life because it will help a lot of people!
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The TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators was hosted by advisor and Indigenous content creator Sherry Mckay (@sherry.mckay), advisor Justina Neepin (@justinaneepin), and program managers Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill and Cheyenne Bruneau. Under their guidance and expert knowledge from presenters such as Celina Myers (@celinaspookyboo), Brett Mooswa (@brettstoise), Jayroy Makokis (@jayroymakokis), Fawn Wood (@fawn.wood) and Duece Moto (@hoodoo_manystrikes), participants created a robust marketing plan and developed a series of videos to set them on the path to success.
TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute is made possible by TikTok Canada. NSI’s Core Funders are: Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage, the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.