Things That Matter

Tia Wood Tik Tok Star Gained Followers By Showing Off Her Culture

Photo: tiamiscihk/Instagram

tia wood dedicates this November is National Native American Heritage Month, a month that is dedicated yearly to the recognition of the indigenous peoples and tribes who are native to North America.

The month is incredibly important because it serves to shine a spotlight on the many groups of people that have been historically oppressed and colonized by European settlers. And thanks to the accessibility of the internet, it is now easier than ever for educators to use social media to educate the world about indigenous cultures.

@tiamiscihk

HAIR TEACHING.❤️💇🏻‍♀️ #hair #indigenous #WellDone #canada #nativeamerican #selflove inspired by @the_land ✊🏽

♬ dear katara – L.Dre

One of the most engaging and informative educators online is Tik Tok influencer Tia Wood, a singer, dancer and artist of the Plains Cree people of Canada. Tia Wood’s stunning and colorful videos spotlight her indigenous heritage and have gained her a massive following on Tik Tok.

Tia Wood gained internet fame when her Tik Tok video of her mother helping her dress in traditional Plains Cree garb went viral. The touching video shows Wood’s mother reciting the haunting poem ‘Brown Eyes’ by Nadia McGhee, while brushing her hair, braiding it, and helping Wood get dressed. The powerful verses tell a story of the pervasive nature of European beauty standards and the insidious effects they can have on a brown girl’s psyche.

“Her eyes are blue/Yours are brown,” the poem goes. “Hers represents the ocean/Yours represents the ground/You’ve always hated your eyes/And wished that they were blue/But your eyes have a tint of gold/So rare it must not be true.” And on it continues.

The performance itself is breathtaking. Wood begins the video looking forlorn, ostensibly unhappy with her appearance. But as Wood’s mother continues to help her daughter dress in her traditional clothing, Wood’s face brightens, her mood transforms. She sees the beauty of her own face, body, and culture in its own right.

The “Brown Eyes” Tik Tok video racked up over 6 million views and gave Wood more of a platform and a voice to educate her followers on indigenous culture, customs, and history.

On her Tik Tok account, Wood shows her 1.3 million followers the beauty of her people’s music, clothing, and art. She dances, she sings, she interprets Western music through an indigenous lens. She educates her followers on why cultural appropriation is offensive. She explains why the story of Pocahontas was not a princess fairy tale.

Indigenous influencers like Tia Wood are using the power of social media to challenge widely accepted European standards of beauty. We are lucky that we live in a time when learning about other people’s cultures is as easy as the click of a mouse.

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Black Women Are Talking About The Stereotypes That Plague Them

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Black Women Are Talking About The Stereotypes That Plague Them

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Doubly marginalized by their race and gender, Black women face so much of their lives combatting the stereotypes that anguish them. Worse, on a daily basis Black women are forced to find ways to thrive and succeed in their lives and careers by white-washing and invalidating their own identities.

Recently, women on Reddit shared the stereotypes that afflict them and it was pretty eye-opening.

Check this out below!

“The stereotype that our entire being is sassy and ghetto. Recently, I was at a friends for game night, we were playing Uno. I simply but jokingly was like “girl don’t look at my cards” and her entire family mimicked me but made it way more than it was like i had said “GURRRLLL DONT YOU BE LOOKIN AT MY CARDS” when that’s not how i said it… at all.” –y0aujani

“I hate the stereotype that we must want to be White if we don’t fit within the clearly defined list of actions and beliefs that society says black women are supposed to be (this stereotype is usually coming from other black people, which makes it sadder).

Oh look! That black woman dyed her hair a color that isn’t typically associated with black people. She clearly wishes she was White!

Oh my GOD. That black woman is dating a White guy. Doesn’t she know that she’s supposed to save herself for a black man?? She clearly wishes she was White.

Good Lord. That black woman likes country line dancing! This is humanity’s worst affront to nature! She clearly wishes she was White!

And so on. I mean, I get that “black” isn’t merely a skin color, it’s a culture. Doing things outside the customs of the culture can make it seem that we are ashamed of said culture. If I don’t like soul food, you can kind of see how that may come across as me looking down my nose at my own culture. But there has to be some kind of limit, where we can like different things and simultaneously have respect for our roots.

Do other cultures go through this? If a Scottish person doesn’t like haggis, are they given shit for not being ‘Scottish enough’?” –VintagePoet82

“My last name is Italian. I know this doesn’t come close to the crap you have to deal with on a daily basis, but admitting I don’t like tomatoes is usually met with “how do you call yourself an Italian?!” …Because that’s where my great grandfather is from?

My family still practices some cultural traditions that celebrate our heritage, but I HATE the idea of baskets delineated by racial stereotypes. People don’t fit in boxes. I’m not trying to be Jewish when I attend Hanukkah parties, I’m not trying to be Cuban when I dance salsa, I’m not trying to be Black when I braid my hair, I’m not trying to be white when I go skiing. I’m just trying to enjoy time with the people I love, and also manage these damn curls, wherever they came from.” C0USC0US

“This doesn’t happen since I moved, but happened a lot when I was a teen/young adult growing up in rural Pennsylvania. (By the way, on balance it’s a wonderful place. Like any rural area, you sometimes wish the people there were more worldly and educated than they are, but I still love Pennsyltucky.)

Anyhow, often times when it came up that I was (and still am) a huge hip-hop fan, someone would inevitably bring up that I was, ‘trying to be black.’ Or they would use an extremely derogatory slang word for a white person who is ‘acting black’ that I’m not going to repeat here.”- Langosta_9er

“I think that everyone in the world feels pressure to let go of their culture and fall into line with the Post-ww2 American consumerist canon. So the people remaining that wish to remain tied to their culture demonize those who embrace change (I’m not saying that the change is positive though).

In my case as an Indian you get pressure from both sides, if you’re too Indian you’re considered a luddite and might be given shit for not assimilating enough, but you might also get shit for not knowing some random shit about your culture depending on who you talk to. That’s just with 2nd gen immigrants though, it seems like 3rd gen are completely assimilated with just physical differences while 1st gen tend to go too much to the other side.

With black people there seems to be a movement for black pride and preserving the culture you’ve developed in spite of the constant pressure from the media and other white people to mix and assimilate into the new “neutral culture” and any form of “giving into that is seen as betrayal.

I used to be more towards assimilating and even wanting to be with white girls to “dilute my Indian genes” but now I’m starting to see how much I dislike the blandness of the “American” culture and part of me doesn’t want to assimilate as much anymore.

Do other cultures go through this? If a Scottish person doesn’t like haggis, are they given shit for not being “Scottish enough”?

I guess that’s where the “No true Scotsman” fallacy comes from.”- RagingSatyr

Had one dude claim I was rolling my eyes any time I looked at him. I’m very quiet by nature, and extra careful with my words and tone. We can literally not do a damn thing, have no reaction, but will still get accused of having a bad attitude. We are often just fucked, no matter what.” –Kemokiro

When you’re a black woman, you have to be strong, Super fucking Woman all the time but if you stand up for yourself, you’re an ‘angry black woman.’ But if you don’t uphold to strong stereotype and you any emotion other than strength like sadness, you’re weak and a black bitch with an attitude.” –beatlegirl95

“Idk where it was but awhile ago there was some post and in the picture there was a naked black girl and you could see her pubic mound (thehehe the phrase) . Comments starting pouring in like “omg wtf is that” “wow it’s just like a black hole isn’t it” “someone needs to get skin toner” so on and so forth. The only thing that gave me some hope is the highly upvoted comment along the lines of ‘ITT men and women who have never fucked or seen a black women naked’ Then it dawned on me; are black women so undesirable that a community, like Reddit ,that is seemingly obsessed with porn hasn’t even seen a black women naked, or is it just another way to put down women.” – mongoosedog12

“the angry black woman stereotype is by far the worst. you can never win with it i see people trashing black women and if i try to stand up for myself and other blacks people they claim i’m proving them right by having an attitude? i’ve literally seen where girls and latina girls act in the exact same manner, say the exact same thing and they are deemed as sexy while the black woman is ghetto and trashy.

people will legit interpret your actions to fit this stereotype like i’m an introverted person and people have said i was a bitch because i didn’t talk to them when another girl can do that and she’s just shy.

on multiple occasions i’ve looked in the general direction of an interracial couple (black man and other woman) and people said i was giving them dirty looks when i really do not care!

i also just hate the cognitive dissonance when it comes to the same thing with black men. most people would agree that it’s racist to generalize all black men saying they are all dead beat fathers, criminals, violent, etc but people seem to think it’s just a perfectly valid opinion to negatively generalize all black women. and it’s the worst when it comes from black men.” –woahwoahwoahwoa

“The fact that we are supposed to speak and act a certain way. The amount of times I’ve been called oreo just for the way I speak is disheartening. No, I’m not white on the inside thanks.” –moonscry

“What’s really annoying is when it comes from other black people. I had a cousin once say that I was so “white” that if I married a black man, my kids would come out biracial. These days, I try to treat it as a running joke because I see absolutely no reason to change myself to fit what “black” is supposed to be. I love Star Wars and video games and reading books by 19th century British women and dislike most rap music and I speak like any other educated person from the suburbs. This is who I am and people who believe that these things make me less black are the ones who have the problem.” –kaitco

“we can’t be beautiful.” –ajarndaniel

“When I was really new to dating and desperate for love/attention/a bf, I ended up ‘dating’ this white guy… He would mention how he watches a lot of interracial porn and how his ultimate fantasy was to rent a plantation in Georgia and for me to be his sex slave…. I wish I was kidding.” –Stitch_Rose

“The worst thing I’ve had is being told I’m “too white” cos of how I talk. I grew up in a mainly white area and had more contact with my white side of the family (although my black family aren’t stereotypically black anyway), so why would I? Why must anyone with black in them be stereotypically black, am I not just as much white as I am black?”- RJturtle

“Dehumanization. If they don’t look at you with the empathy to acknowledge your humanity, they can justify anything that is done to you.

I suppose that’s a black problem to have in general, but it hits women hard too.” –AliceHouse

“I’m angry. I’m sassy. I’m ghetto. I could be a thief. I’m loud. I’m unintelligent. I’m close minded. I’m spiritual. I’m “manly”.

The only one that’s true for me is that I’m loud lol. And my GOD I hate the, “Wow! You speak very nice. You’re eloquent”. That’s a backhanded compliment; they expected me to sound a certain way JUST because I’m black. =A=; The fuck dude.”- FantasticHamburguesa

“I’m not sure I can pinpoint this to a specific stereotype, but when interacting with my customers, I’m questioned a lot more than my white or male coworkers. I often have to take male coworkers with me to deal with belligerent restaurant owners who just will not listen to me. It’s the racism+sexism combo, and it sucks. I’m not dumb because I’m black. I’m not dumb because I’m a woman.

When customers talk back or are rude, I have to try extra hard to be nice to them because they’re more likely to report be for being rude and hostile. It’s just their perception and it sucks so much. Edit: Remembered another one! My baby sister was born when I was 12 going on 13. I developed early and this lady in Kohl’s cooed at my sister, which scared her, causing her to reach for me. The lady said ‘Aw look, she just wants her mommy’ and I was like… what? Who? Me? I’m 13. There’s a comic strip that shows the difference in how white and black women are treated, I wish I could find it.

It also had a panel about how it’s assumed black people go to college because we’re simply minorities and filling up seats. Nope, I earned my $22k/year scholarship, thanks.” –TheYellowRose

Parallax92

“You speak so well…”

“You have such a normal name”

“You’re not like one of THOSE black people”

“YOU play guitar?”

“Oh wow, I didn’t know black people like that kind of music”

“Oh your parents are still married?”

“You’re pretty for a black girl” –3 years ago

“I hate the stereotypical backhanded comments. The “You speak so well, where did you grow up?/ You talk white”, the “You’re so pretty for a black girl,” or the worst one “It’s okay, you’re not really black though.”

First of all, I don’t remember there being official perimeters for being black and if there are, I sure didn’t get the memo. Just because I’m not generally outspoken, I like nerdy/geeky shit, and I have a white fiancé does not mean in any way I’m less black.

I also really hate it because not only does that comment imply to be black is something to be ashamed of or something lesser, it also negates all the bullshit I’ve have to deal with on a daily basis. Like oh, well you don’t see me as “black” but the store attendant that followed me through the entire Sprint store because he assumed I was there to steal something sure thought I was black enough.

I hate that I can’t fight back against any of these comments because I’ll be labeled an “angry black woman”. Nothing is more frustrating than to have legitimate reasons to be upset but if your octave goes up even a little, everything you say is invalidated because you’re just “an angry black woman complaining about everything.” –Slightlydazed49

That I’m poor because I live on the south side of Chicago. I’m not smart & I look like I have a bad attitude/mean.

What’s so funny is, I was at a Walmart in Iowa, I was talking about all the places I’ve been to over the last 10 years and I was talking on the phone with my mom. Some white lady just kept looking at me in shock like….WOW. Then when I mentioned to having family in Toronto, Canada, her eyes got big as hell. Again, at Walmart, white woman clutching her purse….I go to pull out my wallet, just to fuck with her, , (oh and in my wallet, I have many credit cards, one of them is a beautiful platinum discover card), anyway she was looking shocked, like how did she get that.” –imtherealistonhere

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A Wealthy Couple Cheated Indigenous Peoples In Canada Out Of COVID Vaccines

Things That Matter

A Wealthy Couple Cheated Indigenous Peoples In Canada Out Of COVID Vaccines

Cases of COVID-19 are drastically devastating Indigenous communities across the globe. In Western Canada, this truth is quite alarming particularly because of how the rates have vastly risen in these communities. In fact, according to Canada Public Health and Indigenous Services data, “The rate of reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations living on reserve is currently 40% higher than the rate in the general Canadian population.” Even more shocking, “The COVID-19 case fatality rate among First Nations living on reserve is about one-third of the case fatality rate in the general Canadian population.”

Still, despite all of this a wealthy Canadian couple had the temerity to lie about their residency and occupation. All in an attempt to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine meant for First Nation residents.

A businessman and his actress wife chartered a private plane to Beaver Creek to get vaccinated.

Rodney Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, flew out to the community in Whitehorse last week. Whitehorse consists of approximately 100 people, most of whom belong to the White River First Nation. Upon arrival, the Bakers allegedly told members of the mobile vaccination clinic that they were employees of the local motel. Once they received their shots they flew back to Whitehorse on their private plane. 

The community became suspicious of the couple and someone eventually reported them to Yukon authorities. Investigating officers were able to track the couple down at the Whitehouse airport according to Yukon’s Minister of Community Services John Streicker.

The Bakers are now facing two charges under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.

The charges include failure to self-isolate and failure to abide by a travel declaration. Yukon, where White River First Nation is located, has had a low number of cases per capita compared to the rest of Canada. Anyone who enters the area is supposed to requires anyone entering the territory to quarantine for 14 days. 

According to VICE, “The maximum possible penalty under the act is $500 plus a $75 surcharge per charge—meaning a maximum of $1,150 each—and/or up to six months in jail.”

News of the couple’s actions has led to Rodney Baker’s resignation as CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. According to VICE, “Baker’s former position netted him $10.6 million in salary and compensation in 2019.”

In a statement about the incident, White River Chief Angela Demit said that she was “deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes.” Demit went onto underline the fact that the First Nation community was selected for priority vaccination because of “its high concentration of elderly people, limited access to healthcare, and remote location.”

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer has described the Bakers’ “deception” as extremely selfish. 

“It’s the height of selfishness,” Dr. Brendan Hanley said about their behavior.

In a statement about the incident, White River First Nation said in a press release that “White River First Nation is particularly concerned with the callous nature of these actions…as they were in blatant disregard of the rules which keep our community safe during this unprecedented global pandemic.” They also called the penalties that the couple will face insufficient.

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