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Native American Tattoos

Nothing catches the eye and brings on awe better than a really good tattoo on a well-toned body. It instantly becomes a fashion statement with the deepest impact. Literally too. But those of us who think of tattoos, as merely a striking fashion statement would need an awakening to what tattoos are really all about. Tattoos aren’t just a fascinating form of art. They delve deeper into the traditions and culture of civilizations that came into existence centuries ago. Tattoos, beyond enhancing beauty, symbolized different aspects of the person it was created on. Tattoos were used for various purposes, as a mark of identification of a particular tribe, to signify the rank or grade of the individual in a tribe, to bestow praise for accomplishment or achievement, and in hope to attain special powers.

Among the oldest in the art, tattoos have been a significant part of the Native American culture for centuries now. There were a variety of reasons why the Native Americans would get tattooed. Many men from the winning tribes of a war would often receive a tattoo signifying their conquest and victory. Many Native American tribes were known by their tattoos. There were different markings that distinguished tribes and the regions they were from. Some Native Americans, especially those from the northwestern parts of America, used tattoos to distinguish and recognize a women’s village. Alaskan tribes used tattoos to mark the killing of an enemy. Many Native American tattoos held mystical or spiritual meaning. Native Americans believed that tattoos gave power to those who wore them on their bodies and/or faces. These tattoos were believed to endow a person with supernatural powers or strength. Native Americans took the tattoo of an animal, object, mythical beings and even gods whose strength and power they wanted to emulate. The Lakota Indians required that both men and women get tattoos to allow them to enter the afterlife, or they believed the spirits of their ancestors would not allow them to enter the afterlife.

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