Music Matters
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Keeping the Culture Alive Through Social Media

Martin Paul
Martin Paul
Photo by Martin Paul

Martin Paul, Yupik from Kipnuk, Alaska is a well-known Tik Toker. At just 19-years-old, he has over 140,000 followers and growing. A majority of his videos are funny Native humor skits, but he also shares what it’s like living in a rural village including his Yupik culture and dancing. Paul says he never imagined his videos would go viral.

“I started just wanting to share the Yupik culture, the Native culture on my platform,” Paul said. “We have to share our culture to keep it alive, that’s very important, and my account just started growing and growing because people found that kind of thing interesting.”

Martin shares videos of riding on snow machines and four wheelers, the only form of transportation in his village, as well as videos of him going out in negative 20-degree weather to get Ice.

(VIDEO) “In most of rural Alaska, there is no running water still. So what do we do? We get ice. There’s other ways to get water, but at the place I am at right now, Kipnuk Alaska, we get water from ice.”

As for Paul’s funny Native humor skits, he says he gets his ideas from various places.

“A lot of the skits are do are memories I’ve had in the past, or experiences I’ve had. Or I’d hear a story from my parents or grandparents, and I’d act it out in a way, and just say whatever Is on my mind and the native humor would just come out. “ Paul said.

Like this skit about being a Native weather man.

(VIDEO)“Native weather report, super windy, the wind is winding, probably about thirty knots with the wind chill of twenty. And its slippery so, you know, you gotta be careful, because you might end up slipping into my arms.”

Paul finds a balance on his channel sharing funny and informative content, but he says that because of his elders, he wants to make sure sharing his culture goes above all else.

“Well, the elders would always tell me to keep the culture alive. I grew up Yupik dancing, and I was always encouraged by my elders to always keep the songs alive, because they go way back and it’s so important to keep it alive basically.” He says.

Paul says the best thing to come out of his channel is when people from all over the world reach out to say what his videos have done for them.

“Quite a bit of people have told me that, ‘hey your videos make me happy when I’m sad, they’d say hey the song you posted was so relatable to me.’” Paul continues, “There were a few people that nearly made me cry they were like ‘your song saved me’ or like your videos, I don’t know. Hearing that it meant so much to me.”

Martin is taking a break from college to be with family and spend time his hometown, and continues to share his culture, humor, and life.