O’siyo. Natives have been using tattooing and body art as means of expressing their culture for many years. After the spread of Christianity, this art form disappeared. Today the art of tattooing is back stronger than ever among Native Indians. In celebration, The Iroquois Museum is presenting an exhibition entitled Indian Ink, Iroquois & The Art of Tattoos, which runs May 1 through November 30, 2013.
Excerpt: Indian Ink! 12 Tattoos Expressing Iroquois Pride by A. Jacobs ICTMN
“As European explorers and Native chiefs set-up the translation protocol of their meetings, in the background, sailors and warriors would check out each other’s tattoos and piercings. You could say those were the first cross cultural exchanges in the Americas.
Tattooing and body art was widespread among most tribes but because of Christianity and acculturation it disappeared or went underground for a century or so. Since the late 1960’s, modern society has seen a resurgence of all types of tattooing, with tribal designs especially trending.
Tribal tattoos now reflect Clan symbols and legends, totems and spirit protectors, family traditions and Native languages. Tribal members now modernize traditional arts like wampum designs and pictographs into body art to update and re-affirm cultural identity.
During the annual Labor Day Weekend Festival of the Arts, August 31 and September 1, there will be high quality painted and airbrushed temporary tattoos by Mohawk artist Peter Loran, with artwork by Iroquois artists Peter B. Jones, Carson Waterman, John Thomas and A. Jacobs.”
The Iroquois Museum is located at Howe’s Cave, NY, 40 miles west of Albany. For further info:IroquoisMuseum.org or call (518) 296-8949.
“You may lose your most valuable property through misfortune in various ways. You may lose your house, your wife and other treasures. But of your moko, [tatoo] you cannot be deprived except by death. It will be your ornament and companion until your last day.” ~ Māori Netana Whakaari of Waimana~