- By Darren Thompson
LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wisc.— A how-high-can-you-kick taekwondo challenge video has 8-year-old Liam Armstrong, a tribal citizen of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, soaring to new heights on TikTok.
The video captured by his stepmother, Ashley Ogimaabiik Armstrong, has garnered millions of views and nearly 8.2 million likes and 100,000 comments in a week on the social media service. Ashley turned on the video recorder at Liam's practice so everyone in the family could see his kicks after practice. His first two kicks went well, but then his instructor raised the height of the board he was kicking, and Liam went for it.
“As I was recording, our son went for a really high kick so he wouldn’t miss out on the challenge,” Ashley told to Native News Online. “He went so high, he went backwards. He got up right away and was laughing."
@ashleyogimaabiik51 ♬ original sound - Ashley Ogimaabiik Armstrong
“After class I showed Liam the video, and he couldn’t stop laughing at himself,” Armstrong said.
Liam asked Ashley if she posted it to the internet. She had not because she was unsure if Liam would have approved, so she waited until he gave his unsolicited permission.
Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.
Ashley says she often posts videos of her family doing random, silly things.
“We have a big, beautiful blended family, and we all enjoy laughing together,” Ashley said.
Liam told Ashley he wanted her to post the video to the internet.
“So, I edited the video in TikTok and wanted to see his blind reaction and he loved it,” she said.
Once it was posted to TikTok, the video caught the attention of Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and House of Highlights — and it quickly went viral. Thousands of users are publishing videos of themselves watching Liam’s video. Many of them are getting a kick out of the high-flying action.
“This look(s) like the cartoons when they slip on a banana peel,” said TikTok user @cris7iano_.
“Beverly Hills Ninja Vibes,” said TikTok user @easye1032.
“Cobra Kai season 6 released,” says TikTok user @random.pepsibottle.
Liam just completed third grade at the Lac du Flambeau Public School, where both of his parents attended, and loves to hunt and fish—from the boat, through the ice, and spearfishing.
“His Rocky-themed video has gone viral on TikTok with millions of social media views and was even featured on Sports Center,” said the Lac du Flambeau Public School of Liam’s video on Facebook. “Congrats to Liam and his family.”
Ashley shared that there have been a few offers to buy the rights to Liam’s video, but she’s been denying each offer so far.
More Stories Like ThisState-Funded Charter School Says Native 1st-Grader's Traditional Hair Violates Dress Code
Rep. Peltola, Sen. Mullin Introduce Legislation to Protect 2nd Amendment Rights of Native Americans
Navajo Nation Mourns Loss of Former President Ben Shelly
Native American Church Chapter Sues Bank for Racial and Religious Discrimination
Legislature Moves to Name Highway after Blackfeet Chief
12 years of Native News
This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.