by Chevi Rabbit, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Jacqueline Buffalo is a Cree Tik Tok influencer, model, community advocate, and entrepreneur. She credits Tik Tok with helping her build up her confidence, and create new opportunities in acting and modeling.
“Just like everybody on reserve I was in a very low-income family,” said Buffalo. “I started a family young. Being secluded on the reserve was a little hard at times and was very isolating at times.”
Buffalo said she experienced a lot of lateral violence on Montana First Nation. ”There was a lot of bullying and it was often hard for me to take it.
“Lateral violence always surrounded me – a lot of isolation, depression, and I experienced major anxiety,” said Buffalo.
She said that she moved off-reserve when she was younger and got a job. These experiences of living off-reserve helped expand her worldviews. “The world is bigger than the reserve.”
She explained that it was her Cree culture that kept her grounded and being independent.
“I never put myself out there. I was very shy. I credit Tik Tok for helping me get out of my shell and over time I opened up on Tik Tok and the world seemed a little nicer,” said Buffalo.
“The world just seemed more welcoming after a while.”
“I developed my comedic abilities through Tik Tok. I also share my Indigenous recipes and Cree culture,” noted Buffalo.
She said Cree representation matters on Tik Tok. We must connect through social media platforms and uplift one another.
“I also use my platform to educate non-indigenous communities about ongoing Indigenous issues,” said Buffalo “The public comments on my Tik Tok that they did not know about Indigenous issues.”
“My message to Indigenous youth is that you know yourself, you know who you want to be, even if you are not sure. There are no guidelines to say this how it should be and this is who you are – you have to figure it out on your own. You know what you like and don’t like. You have to separate yourself from what you don’t want and commit to something.”
She said nothing ever happens overnight. It takes work. “You can’t just sit around and expect change to happen. You gotta make it happen.”
“Sometimes you have to separate yourself from people to know who you are. Especially, if you are constantly taking care of other people,” said Buffalo.
As a community advocate, Buffalo participated as a guest speaker at the 2021 Ponoka for Peace Rally, 10th annual Hate to Hope: Indigenous Rights with Alberta Indigenous Minister Rick Wilson, 2020 Wetaskiwin Hate to Hope rally with Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam, and second annual Walk a Mile in a Ribbon Skirt.
Buffalo signed with a Modelling agency in Edmonton in 2020; she models for local businesses, and is currently developing her acting career. As a model, she participated in the 1st annual Aboriginal Women’s Professional Association with fellow actress and model Crystal Lightning and Maskwacis model Heidi Brown.