If there's one thing that Chante' Reddest wants, it's for Americans to have a better understanding of Indigenous culture. Whether he's posting educational videos on his TikTok or using Native American imagery in his photography, Chante' has made it his mission to do just that. The videos on his TikTok cover a range of topics, From sharing the legend of the creation of the Bear Lodge Devils Tower to debunking the various misconceptions about Native American culture. Today, The Global Spotlight got the opportunity to interview Chante' and ask him more about his content, his photography, and his culture.
What made you start posting educational videos about Native American culture on TikTok?
I wanted to give light to certain topics about history and issues that are going on in the Indigenous communities.
Many public schools in the United States are still teaching children the same misconceptions about Indigenous peoples and their relationships to the different conquerors, colonists, and early European settlers that people around our age were taught when we were kids. What are some of the misconceptions that you know of that you wish were taken out of public school curriculums surrounding Native American and European settler history?
There is a rich history about Native Americans before “Columbus discovered” America. That part of history is mysterious to many people. I would definitely want a better depiction of the way our land was actually managed by the government and the actual facts about the wars fought.
There are interesting facts that could be incorporated into public school curriculum, such as the misinformation about scalping. Scalping is a big misconception, people think we were the first ones to scalp, which is not true. We were showed how.
Following up that question, what sort of curriculum would you replace it with when that
subject matter is ready to be taught?
When it comes to improving the curriculum, I would like to see things similar to the current efforts some people are making, such as those of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Knowledge 360 Degrees. I learned about this in an article from the Smithsonian Magazine.
They took the time to develop this curriculum for schools and launched it in 2018. I would like to see these types of efforts validated and supported at a national level.
Do you wish you had someone like you making educational content on YouTube - since TikTok wasn't around when we were younger - when you were growing up?
Yes, it really would have helped me see things differently as a kid. I think it is good getting exposed to the history at an early and having easy access to facts.
What are the most common questions and comments you get on your videos online?
The most common questions I get from my videos is how I come up with ideas and how do I
make and edit some of them.
Other than being educated, what is something you hope people get from the content you make?
I want mixed natives like me to feel confident in themselves and to know that they are worthy to be apart of the community. Also, to embrace their traditions and stories so they can use that in their day to day life.
Shifting gears from TikTok, I see you are also a photographer, posting your photography on your Instagram page. I find your style of photography and editing really interesting. Tell me more about that and your creative process with it and why you choose to edit your photos the way you do.
I think a lot of people see natives in a certain way and I want to show others my love for my
people and our ways. They have beautiful minds and hearts.
I choose to edit my photos the way I do because it expresses how I think and how my mind works differently. Creativity has definitely been a strong suit of mine ever since I was a little kid.
I’ve tried to shut that out over the years, but it always comes back to me and it shows me what I really want to do with my life.
Finally, your TikTok bio says “inspire the next generation.” In what ways would you
suggest this generation to help inspire and make a better world for the next?
Acceptance. That is key because there are different mixes of natives and not all of us look the same. The government really has made a negative impact on us and how we should judge people over the color of their skin and blood quantum.
Overcoming those obstacles that we have as a community will make us stronger than ever. Loving one another and welcoming each other so we can learn and reconnect with our ways, because we are still learning everyday.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT. WE LOOK FORWARD TO BRINGING YOU THE VOICE OF MORE INSPIRING ARTISTS AND CHANGEMAKERS IN 2022.