Novalinga has amassed 1.6M followers on social media platform
Nunavik-born Shina Novalinga
is pictured here wearing a handmade outfit, one of the things
she showcases on her TikTok account where she posts videos
about Inuit culture. (Photo provided by Rachele Tang)
Just under year ago, Shina Novalinga posted her first video of
her throat singing with her mother on TikTok. Now, over 1.6 million
people worldwide watch the 22-year-old's videos about Inuit culture.
Novalinga, who started throat singing around the age of seven after
moving to Montreal, said her account took off after her mother,
Caroline, had the idea to post a video of them singing together.
At first she was a bit shy to post the videos, she said, but in
the end, it was worth it.
"It always brings us joy and we have a stronger connection every
time we throat sing," she said.
Shina Novalinga throat
sings with her mother Caroline on TikTok. (Screenshot from
On Sunday, the college student-by-day posted a video sitting cross-legged
on the floor and eating raw caribou meat, cutting off pieces with
In an earlier video, she shows different traditional outfits handmade
by her mother.
Novalinga said other Inuit have reached out to her online, saying
people have started to notice their traditional clothing in public.
"They're happy that more people are acknowledging and appreciating
our unique culture because not a lot of people knew about it," she
Novalinga is also working with other Indigenous people now. She's
posted videos with James Jones, a traditional hoop dance artist
who goes by @notoriouscree on TikTok.
"Our goal is to definitely have more representation," she said
about herself and other Indigenous people on social media. "Having
more people around the world understand our culture and finally
having a voice."
Having Indigenous people seen in the mainstream like this helps
youth appreciate their identities and not be ashamed of their culture,
She said she hopes to sing with other Inuit throat singers she
has connected with over social media too.
Amid the positive comments and feedback, she still sees racist
jokes and reactions to her videos, she said in a video she posted,
addressing someone mocking traditional throat singing on TikTok.
"That's why so many of our people are afraid to show parts of our
culture, because of the judgement, because of the criticism and
because of jokes like that," she said in the video.
She said having such a large platform and educating people about
Inuit culture does come with some pressure.
"I really didn't know I was going to be the face of my people,"
But, she said she's grateful she has this platform, which older
generations didn't have.
In December, Novalinga and her mother raised more than $12,400
through an online fundraiser to bring Christmas stockings full of
supplies and gifts to Indigenous women at a shelter in Quebec.
She was born in Puvirnituq and moved South to Montreal when she
was about five years old, she said.
Novalinga goes by the username @shinanova on TikTok.