This Inuit TikToker Has Become One of the Most Important Indigenous Influencers


Shina Novalinga is an Inuk throat singer who’s using TikTok to show her cultural pride. She’s now gained over 2.3 million followers on the app, and uses her platform for charity and to release a throat-singing album later this year.

Born in Nunavik, she is now based in Montreal, studying business management. With the extra time she had during the pandemic, she decided to learn more about her Indigenous roots, and tapped into her mother’s knowledge about their shared Inuit culture.

Novalinga joined TikTok in June 2020, and shares her knowledge about her culture to educate others. Her content varies from throat singing with her mother, to expressing her thoughts about the underrepresentation of Indigenous faces in the media, to correcting myths and biases about her culture.



We hope you enjoy it as much as we do @kayuulanova #throatsingers #healing #culture #reclaim

♬ original sound – Shina Nova


Inuit throat singing was banned by Christian missionaries in the early 20th century. But that ban was then lifted in the 1980s, and now Novalinga and her mother continue to preserve and celebrate the music by “bringing back what was shamed upon.”

Throat singing usually involves two women facing each other while singing, and is considered to be a competition between the two women to see who can lose their breath first.



Would you be able to spot the difference? @kayuulanova ???????? #inuit #inuittiktok #nativetiktoks #indigenous

♬ original sound – Shina Nova


The 22-year-old content creator first started throat-singing at the age of seven but didn’t reconnect with the practice until a few years ago.

Novalinga told the Daily Hive over Zoom that at first, she felt shy to post her performances to a wider audience. But when her mom began posting their videos, Novalinga overcame her shyness and received a positive reaction from the public.

“The message I want to send [to my followers] is to not be afraid to reconnect with your identity, roots, and culture. To make the effort,” said Novalinga.

She’s now found her personal niche – educating her audience about Inuit culture. The recognition and respect she’s received from the community has helped her change her priorities with what comes first in her life.

“I want Indigenous youth to know that they are as worthy as everyone else. On billboards, on the cover of magazines, you see all these beautiful ethnicities and backgrounds, but there are not enough Indigenous people represented,” she said.



She hopes that she can inspire others to connect with their roots, to not be scared. “They still have their identity; if they are willing to learn, it is still inside.”

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