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Native American Heritage Month: Week of the Tattoo

The following is a post by four authors and appreciators of Native American history who would like to honor the rich heritage of those who inhabited America long before the authors’ ancestors arrived.


Native American tattoos play a key role in my historical novel, THE FALCON, THE WOLF AND THE HUMMINGBIRD . They identify characters according to their tribes; represent geometric shapes similar to those found in nature; and speak to how characters see themselves, or who they would like to become.

Those values of representing identity, accomplishments and connection to the spiritual world are still very important to indigenous people. You can see examples on:

Sarah LaPena of Santa Rosa, CA, (featured in the photo) said it best in a University of Washington article regarding why she chose her tattoo:

[The tattoo] was one more step, it is my birthright to who I am as a traditional Native woman. I would say it makes me a whole human being, that I might take my rightful place in my community. And instead of having to pull out my credentials, of who I am and what I represent, it is there on my face before I open my mouth. And when I talk about taking care of the earth, living with the environment, herbalism, TEK (traditional ecological knowledge), the words that I speak are the truth and come from my elders, my ancestors, from Mother Earth. So that is what is embodied in that tattoo; that is what it represents as a human being living where I do, in Northern California.


Leslie K. Simmons, author of RED CLAY, RUNNING WATERS

Michael Ross, author of ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE

J. Stanion, author of MY PLACE AMONG THEM

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