An Iñupiaq woman from Utqiagvik, Alaska, is taking the TikTok world by storm by giving her followers a taste of her culture.
Patuk Glenn is entertaining and educating her 81,000 followers on the popular social media platform, with videos about the Iñupiat way of life.
Glenn’s popular videos cover everything from food to clothing and hunting. She showcases fur-trimmed parkas and other traditional clothing. In others, she eats Inuit ice cream, made of caribou fat and ground caribou meat, as well as seal meat. She also walks her viewers through a traditional ice cellar behind her mother’s house where they preserve whale, seal and caribou.
Some videos have sparked backlash — particularly one that featured muktuk, or whale skin, which was viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and sparked some negative comments.
Glenn said that’s where the ability to block followers comes in handy.
Glenn said the negativity opened her eyes to the bullying kids face online. That drove her to educate her followers even more, in hopes that her daughter can one day share more about who she is without worrying about harassment online.
Glenn said she’s also learning about other Indigenous cultures, like Navajo and Cree, simply by watching videos online.
Her family has called her “TikTok famous,” Glenn said with a laugh, but she hopes to keep growing her following.
“This platform is helping give the power back into Indigenous people’s hands, to speak on behalf of themselves. I think that’s the real cool piece of it.”
Written by Katherine Barton, with files from Mark Hadlari and Hilary Bird
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United States: Indigenous leaders at UN meeting push for decade dedicated to language revitalization, CBC News