This Native American Heritage Month we’re highlighting some of the amazing and influential native voices currently making waves online. Social media provides an accessible avenue for young people to learn, engage and discover an online community where they feel represented. Even though it is available to all, Native peoples, this can be huge. Being able to connect to your heritage online can be instrumental in discovering your own identity and ancestral history. In fact, social media is giving Native voices a platform worthy of standing on.

To illustrate this point, in Tommy Orange’s groundbreaking novel There There, a character is able to discover the traditions of his people through online videos. For those suffering from generational trauma, gaining cultural knowledge from your parents and grandparents can be painful. In Orange’s novel, character Orvil is able to learn to dance for the upcoming Pow Wow, discover traditional tribal music, and more through an online community. In other words, it gave Orvil a chance to make connections like never before.

Some know their roots. For others, however, it’s not that simple. That’s where platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube come in to bridge the gap. There is a wealth of Native voices online today. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite Native voices.

Seukteoma

Seukteoma is from Arizona and is Tohono O’odham, Hopi, and Navajo. Her YouTube channel provides funny and educational videos about Native American culture. It also give Seukteoma a platform to share her own identity as a young Native woman. Her Native American makeup tutorial video (above) calls out indigenous appropriation during Halloween. Her latest video about the Earth Guardians in Arkansas inspires all of us to lead positively impactful lives too.

Project 562

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Bonus Episode, Now Live: Celebrate Indigenous People’s, Not Columbus ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The foundational narrative we teach our children about Columbus is rooted in myth and falsehoods. Instead of teaching our real Native American history, or our real humanity, we’ve settled for American mythology. When we celebrate Columbus, we are blindly supporting Indigenous erasure and perpetuating the romantic, dire, insatiable story of extinction. It’s the story that dilutes Native American genocide, and celebrates notions of pioneering, settlement, and manifest destiny. These myths reject Indigenous intelligence, Indigenous land, Indigenous humanity, and dare we say, Indigenous futures. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So instead, today is a day to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples, and it is an important part of our movement— it centers our stories and therefore our resiliency:⁣ ⁣ “Every Native American is a survivor, an anomaly, a surprise on earth. We were all slated for extinction before the march of progress. But surprise, we are progress. “ — Louise Erdrich ⁣ In the spirit of celebration, we invite you to listen to Adrienne and Matika discuss the complexity of this issue on @amrpodcast; and we encourage you to share it with your friends. If you live in one of 7 states or 130+ cities that has worked to #AbolishColumbusDay, then we applaud you. If you are still in the struggle to rewrite the narrative, we stand with you. ⁣✊🏾 ⁣ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ +++ Special thanks to @teoelisio for sound engineering and editing, and @artbyciara for continuing to inspire us with your episode art! ❤️

A post shared by Matika Wilbur (@project_562) on

Project 562 is a photo project by Matika Wilbur which strives to represent the 562 indigenous nations. After working as a teacher and seeing the stark absence of First People’s representation and history in the curriculum, Matika embarked on the journey to change our educational systems. In addition to Project 562, Matika cohosts the All My Relations podcast with Adrienne Keene. She has also spoken at TedX Seattle about Project 562. Project 562 is breaking stereotypes, highlighting Native contemporary culture, as well as adding a Native voice to curriculums.

@ms_eagleheart 

Sarah Eagle Heart is a Lakota woman who has held leadership positions in organizations like the Women’s March and Native Americans in Philanthropy. She is also the voice of Luna on the Emmy-nominated animated series Crow The Legend. She is a social justice storyteller and activist who uses her platforms to educate and inspire.

There you have it. Three amazing women who are helping to lead the conversation on Native life with authentic Native voices. Moreover, their leadership and activism inspire us every day. #nativeamericanheritagemonth