Indigenous social media influencer donates to Montreal shelter

Inuk TikToker Shina Novalinga donated over $12,000 in goods to the Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal

In the beginning of January Shina Novalinga, a well-known Inuk TikToker from Montreal, donated 100 gift bags to the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal (NWSM) for the holidays.

“This year we want to give back,” said Novalinga in a TikTok alongside her mother Caroline, who also has a popular TikTok account. The two had decided to use GoFundMe, a popular crowdfunding platform, to fundraise money to donate gift bags for the women at the shelter.

“They’re often forgotten on Christmas day,” said Caroline in the video, referencing the Indigenous population in Montreal. The video was posted on Dec. 25 and gained 379,600 views. By the beginning of January $12,482 was raised, with donations varying from $5 to $500.

The 100 bags were worth roughly $120 each, including items such as disposable masks, hygiene pads, clothing, Indigenous handmade earrings or bracelets, $15 Tim Hortons cards, and bannock — an Indigenous type of fry bread.

Much more was included in the bags, such as heartfelt handwritten notes that said things such as “I love you for no reason” or “You are worthy of a beautiful life.”

“It’s important to give back to our community and it has always been part of our values,” Novalinga stated on the GoFundMe website.

Novalinga and her mother became popular Indigenous TikTokers through videos of the two throat singing, where traditionally two women face each other and sing in a contest to see who will outlast the other.

The NWSM is the only women’s shelter in Montreal that exclusively serves Indigenous women and their children.

With COVID-19, the shelter is no longer able to pick up donations, but they are currently doing drop-off days for donations twice a month, according to the website.

Kate Legrand, an Administrative Assistant at the NWSM, said that donations can also be made by credit card or cheque, but they are not currently accepting e-transfers.


Graphic by @the.beta.lab

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