How Traditional Tattoos are Connecting People to their Inuit Identities | INDIE ALASKA

How Traditional Tattoos are Connecting People to their Inuit Identities | INDIE ALASKA


We have this opportunity to create this
community through these communal markings of our ancestors and I think it trulydoes that. It’s remarkable the sort of strength of self that it places in you
when you wear your traditional markings. So I think every bit of it is about
reconnection it’s the two of us coming together and working in this way that
our women have for thousands of years and little by little taking that back. As
an Inuit tattooer I am so blessed and privileged to work with my people every
day and reconnect. Isn’t that great? I’d been thinking about it for
twenty years and how can I not just get one, but do it right? What am I doing for
my own people that’s gonna make it better? I applied for funding and got it.
Then just started looking for somebody to train us. Hand poking is creating a
little harpoon and then inserts the ink into the skin.
Skin Stitching is using a needle and cotton thread, that was originally sinew
and soot, and running it through the skin like you
would be stitching any cloth. Like for me the skin stitching, it is
such a different intense feeling and not in pain. But the feeling can be almost
overwhelming. I think that you can almost look across the room and see that
woman hundreds of years ago on the other end of that thread who’s pulling that
same line you know it’s that connection. That sort of indescribable feeling is
palpable. It’s so thick in the air like you you can almost see them it feels
like. People get them for different reasons.
They signify different things in their lives. I just like to keep an open mind
and an open book always. So have you done like the traditional designs with any
male passing individuals? Which obviously Two Spirited men traditionally were
celebrated and were often revered in communities and that’s something I think
we could bring back. That’d be a lovely way to like recognize that population.
Because we wouldn’t normally give a man female tattoos unless he had that Spirit
in him. It just has boiled me down to maybe the
the absolute most true core of myself that I’ve ever been. The actual act of the
traditional tattooing has been like so life-changing I don’t even have
a lot of words to begin to describe it. But the connections that you make with
other Inuit people all over the world, all longing for some sense of wanting to
hold on to our culture and I think it’s done that. Just checking in with
those with the people I’ve tattooed they’re like family to me just makes
them feel part of something bigger than themselves.

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4 Comments

  1. Best of Luck ! Wishing you great success ! Such a good web series. Btw learned of A Tribe Called Red thru Andrew P. Stanley’s Wild North .
    Cheers from Philadelphia Pa. USA

  2. Holly is such a sweetheart and I've so much respect for the work she does and her passion for the betterment for her people, her culture and for revival and conservation for Inuit tattoo traditions that helps to heal historical traumas, and decolonize❤️

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