YouTubers are known for creating interesting and fun videos containing tutorials on beauty, ASMR and commentary, all to grow their channels and communities, but for Chelsey Moon of Michigan, the stakes are higher.
Moon is Ojibwe, with roots in the Bay Mills Indian Community, and is committed to spotlighting indigenous culture on her channel.
“I’m doing this for people who don’t know about us and are interested, but also for indigenous people who want to just listen,” she told InsideEdition.com.
Moon’s eyeshadow tutorials are often inspired by the color of her dance regalia. The first DIY tutorial that kicked it all off for her was a video she posted of her repairing her jingle dress, a traditional garment meant to bring healing to those who are sick.
Moon noticed there weren't other native vloggers in the YouTube space after she posted her first video, in which she talks about undergoing breast reduction surgery. “We want entertainment, too. We want to see ourselves, too, especially on YouTube," she said.
That’s when she decided that if she wanted representation, she would have to do it herself. Though the 29-year-old balances producing content for her YouTube channel with working a full-time job, finishing her bachelor’s degree and raising her three children, she said it was important to become involved.
“We don’t have much representation,” she said. “If we want to see representation of ourselves, some of us are just going to have to go ahead and just do it.”
Most recently, Moon went viral for a nontraditional beaded eyebrow tutorial.
“I spent three hours blocking my eyebrow with glue and then I glued beads on my eyebrows and everyone went nuts,” she said. “I’ve also beaded some other unconventional things that people really like, so [I'm] just trying to have fun and, not necessarily start new trends, but inspire people not just to bead moccasins. We can adapt into the 21st century, too.”
As Moon grows her channel, she said she hopes to be able to use her influence to support other indigenous communities, including by help others raise money to purchase dance regalia for their children.
For Moon, her videos are an opportunity to show people that like the rest of America, native culture is ever-evolving. “We’re not all sitting around the fire all the time. We’re here today, too,” Moon said.