Reported by C. Young
This information about hair has been hidden from the public since the Viet Nam War .

Our culture leads people to believe that hair style is a matter of personal preference, that hair style is a matter of fashion and/or convenience, and that how people wear their hair is simply a cosmetic issue. Back in the Viet Nam war however, an entirely different picture emerged, one that has been carefully covered up and hidden from public view.

In the early nineties, Sally [name changed to protect privacy] was married to a licensed psychologist who worked at a VA Medical hospital. He worked with combat veterans with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. Most of them had served in Viet Nam.

Sally said: "I remember clearly an evening when my husband came back to our apartment on Doctor’s Circle carrying a thick official looking folder in his hands. Inside were hundreds of pages of certain studies commissioned by the government. He was in shock from the contents. What he read in those documents completely changed his life. From that moment on my conservative middle of the road husband grew his hair and beard and never cut them again. What is more, the VA Medical center let him do it, and other very conservative men in the staff followed his example. As I read the documents, I learned why. It seems that during the Viet Nam War special forces in the war department had sent undercover experts to comb American Indian Reservations looking for talented scouts, for tough young men trained to move stealthily through rough terrain. They were especially looking for men with outstanding, almost supernatural, tracking abilities. Before being approached, these carefully selected men were extensively documented as experts in tracking and survival.

With the usual enticements, the well proven smooth phrases used to enroll new recruits, some of these Indian trackers were then enlisted. Once enlisted, an amazing thing happened. Whatever talents and skills they had possessed on the reservation seemed to mysteriously disappear, as recruit after recruit failed to perform as expected in the field.

Serious causalities and failures of performance led the government to contract expensive testing of these recruits, and this is what was found.

When questioned about their failure to perform as expected, the older recruits replied consistently that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer ’sense’ the enemy, they could no longer access a ’sixth sense’ , their ’intuition’ no longer was reliable, they couldn’t ’read’ subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information.

So the testing institute recruited more Indian trackers, let them keep their long hair, and tested them in multiple areas. Then they would pair two men together who had received the same scores on all the tests. They would let one man in the pair keep his hair long, and gave the other man a military haircut. Then the two men retook the tests.

Time after time the man with long hair kept making high scores. Time after time, the man with the short hair failed the tests in which he had previously scored high scores.

Here is a typical test:

The recruit is sleeping out in the woods. An armed ’enemy’ approaches the sleeping man. The long haired man is awakened out of his sleep by a strong sense of danger and gets away long before the enemy is close, long before any sounds from the approaching enemy are audible.

Naiche (Chiricahua Apache) 1857-1921 [Geronimo allied]

In another version of this test the long haired man senses an approach and somehow intuits that the enemy will perform a physical attack. He follows his ’sixth sense’ and stays still, pretending to be sleeping, but quickly grabs the attacker and ’kills’ him as the attacker reaches down to strangle him.

This same man, after having passed these and other tests, then received a military haircut and consistently failed these tests, and many other tests that he had previously passed.

So the document recommended that all Indian trackers be exempt from military haircuts. In fact, it required that trackers keep their hair long."


The mammalian body has evolved over millions of years. Survival skills of human and animal at times seem almost supernatural. Science is constantly coming up with more discoveries about the amazing abilities of man and animal to survive. Each part of the body has highly sensitive work to perform for the survival and well being of the body as a whole.The body has a reason for every part of itself.

Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved \’feelers\’ or \’antennae\’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brainstem, the limbic system, and the neocortex.

Not only does hair in people, including facial hair in men, provide an information highway reaching the brain, hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment. This has been seen in Kirlian photography when a person is photographed with long hair and then rephotographed after the hair is cut.

Scabby Bull - Kakuyanaka ( Arapaho )

When hair is cut, receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment are greatly hampered. This results in numbing-out .

Cutting of hair is a contributing factor to unawareness of environmental distress in local ecosystems. It is also a contributing factor to insensitivity in relationships of all kinds. It contributes to sexual frustration.


In searching for solutions for the distress in our world, it may be time for us to consider that many of our most basic assumptions about reality are in error. It may be that a major part of the solution is looking at us in the face each morning when we see ourselves in the mirror.

The story of Sampson and Delilah in the Bible has a lot of encoded truth to tell us. When Delilah cut Sampson’s hair, the once undefeatable Sampson was defeated.

Yakima boy

VIDEO The significance of hair in Native American Culture

Responses to "The Truth About Hair and why Natives would keep their hair long"

  1. I am not disputing this article at all, but there is another, perhaps connected reason that American Indians would not cut their hair, except in bereavement when cutting of the hair was often mandatory. In the ancient cosmology of many or most North Americans, it was believed that the spirit takes bird form after death, and that the hair transmutes into feathers, to facilitate the afterlife journey into the sky. This is not only why Indians wore their hair long, because death can come at any time, but it's also why feathers were so often worn in the hair. And it's the origin of scalping -- to deprive one's enemy of the ability to make the afterlife journey.

    When a family member died, it was traditional to cut one's hair and throw the locks into the grave, so that the transmuted hair would assist the relative in his or her journey.

    This belief long survived until it was expunged by Christian forced conversion, at which point other rationales for keeping the hair long, not offensive to Christianity, were invented. The record of the early beliefs is clear in ethnological reports.

  2. I read (but cannot verify this as fact- as i was not there)that it was French bounty hunters who took the scalps of Indians and got paid for each scalp presented, in the days of the wild west and settlers arriving from Europe.

    The story of why not to cut hair i had read some time ago and it makes good sense to me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It's such a true saying; "It's not what you know, but what you don't know etc"

  4. Anonymous says:

    I must say that there is Honor in long hair. Just as Mother Earth nutures her children of the land so we as indigenous people nuture our hair in a responsible manner. For mother Earth has true mother's of beings on earth. Mother Earth suffers motherhood pains thus our mother's feels the pain of her children. The long hair was nutured in wisdom and the elements of life to with stand the scoldings of our Creator. The tears that our Creator sheds nutures the elements of life and allows his children forgiveness. To allow our spirits to be once more nutured and give the wisdom of personal growth. ~opa-hi-ya'~

  5. Wayne says:

    @ RaynebowWolf.

    Scalping was used on boths sides during the six colonial wars with New England and the Iroquois Confederacy fighting New France and the Wabanaki Confederacy over a seventy-five year period, starting with King William's War in 1689 ; In documents of that period scalping is described as "Frontier warfare tally" and was used against Military, Civilians and families alike .

    Bounty was paid by both side for every enemy scalp taken as proof of the killing of the enemy; But this bounty was introduce by Europeans.

    It was later instigated in the South by Some Mexican and American territories who paid bounty for Native scalps.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Chuck Manson

  7. interesting subject, and good article. From what I understand, following the imposed anglo-saxon puritans has never been a choice for the american indian. Worst, the tragedy here is that yound indians partook in the slaughter of innocent people on the other side of the planet, in an unjust war that was eventually lost to the vietnamese people. The USA military-industrial criminals have not yet been tried for war crimes, and to this day, the USA does not recognize the international court.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Small point to pick up on but it wasn't Delilah who cut off Samson's hair.

  9. Anonymous says:

    there hair was long because there ways of life and tools were primative!

  10. justine says:

    really interesting stories and great comments that add to the discussion.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not all Natives had long hair. There are plenty of photos documenting tribes with "styled" short hair or shaved heads. It's a cultural thing.

  12. Waynes says that scalping was introduced by Europeans. This is inaccurate: scalping was introduced by the English, and so was the use of genocide to eradicate the american indians, by distributing infected blankets (read on English general Jeffery Amherst.

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. Anonymous says:

    anyone ever watch Deadwood?

  15. Anonymous says:

    ...sounds like disinfo from the army, pushing a "revolution of hair" that amounts to nothing: the 60ies

  16. Anonymous says:

    That leaves all Africans out of the picture... A little bit perplexing...

  17. Anonymous says:

    The US and Canadian governments will never recognize international law, because of the "indians" and the agreements made between both political and Aboriginal parties, ie. Treaties, etc.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why? There are some African tribes that survived, they let their hair long too....

  19. Anonymous says:

    as long as people care more about the color of there skin and a history they had no part of

    instead of being Americans .Racism will always exist

  20. John Shadowwolf says:

    While the article as far as what the government did as testing i can not confirm nor deny- as a Choctaw Native I can say that not all tribes had long hair - we Choctaw people had shaved heads wearing only a scalp lock at the back of the head our faces and head were heavily tattooed to strike fear into our enemies-- I also wear my hair long ( it is to my waist ) cause I want to, and because I believe that it is a religious thing, I would only cut my hair in a case of except in bereavement when cutting of the hair was is mandatory

  21. Diamond says:

    Oh, I typed in a last bit that got erased at the end...

    The saving grace here is, I think, sharing NV-TV: people telling their own stories in their own way is valuable.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thats why the Older (and wiser People) say, dont cut the hair of a Child before its at least three years old!
    And thats why a lot of Children cry when you cut their hair, like it would hurt them.
    You cut a part of ther feeling and sensing body!
    So think about cuting and shaving Babys hair.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Diamond. Well said.

  24. Diamond says:

    You are correct Gracia, my bad. Recall that I also don't believe a word of it.

  25. Mad Jack says:

    As a Nez Perce AND Army Infantry veteran, I fully concur with the conclusions of the author. The U.S. Army now requires some portions of or military to allow their facial hair to grow. It is because of these studies.
    I harvested a very large bear, some years back, largely in part because I sensed the bear long before I heard, smelled, or saw the animal. This, I believe, was due to my "6th sense". I KNEW where to look. There was no wind, and, I was able to watch when my prey came into view. I had long hair at the time (waist length).

  26. Anonymous says:

    Says the person who uses the wrong "there".

  27. Anonymous says:

    Vinceremos: Ummm England is part if Europe

  28. Anonymous says:

    Not really... they have hair as well.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Long hair and feathers also was a safety device. No animal has hair/fur and feathers. That is also the reason that mountain men wore feathers on their hide cloaks and robes. If a hunter saw this combination, he knew that it was not an animal. This is not to say that the report is wrong. I have heard this before and from the days when my hair was long I felt that I was better in the woods as well.

  30. codo says:

    Another "meaning" of long hair is a husband honoring his wife.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Additional evidence on hair as antennae....
    reprinted with permission:
    John D link

    Hair as an antennae (plural)

    I laid out electronic circuit boards for a profession.
    All current creates radio radio waves as a matter of fact.
    Alternating current is changed to direct current by means
    of a diode.

    Diodes are either made of selenium or germanium.-fact-
    Hair follicles contain selenium.
    Selenium is needed for hair to grow.

    Hair needs copper.
    also check out 'copper peptides'.

    Hair contains copper. It acts as an antennae.
    Radio waves are received by the hair, converted in to
    DC current by the selenium in the hair follicles.
    The selenium in the hair follicles can be of varying strengths
    therefore even possibly creating some transistors as well.

    It is my supposition that the current goes directly to the
    brain, which just happens to be very close to the hair

    We are radio receivers.

    The evidence of the indians with long hair having an extra
    or I would say different sensitivity/awareness is because of the long hair. If you have short hair you will be receiving
    wave lengths of higher frequency. Longer hair will receive
    lower wave lengths.

    This is all natural physics and chemical facts.

    I'm gonna let my hair grow long again and see what happens.
    I'm also going to start taking copper supplements.!

    You welcome, JD

  32. Anonymous says:

    I am a fullblooded Comanche Indian and my grandparents were both full blooded and they lived to be 93 and 95 yrs old. My grandpas dad was a medicine man, they had very stong beliefs in the Indian culture and spoke the Comanche language fluently. They also believed in cutting your hair off during bereavement to send off with your loved one. My own dad died when I was 16 yrs old, he was also Comanche. My sister was 14 yrs old and had long beautiful black hair and my grandma and grandpa told her that it was tradition to cut your hair and put it with your dad and she did. My hair was short at the time so I had none to give. My family still believes in the old Indian ways as we call it and we will continue to pass it down to our children and thier children and so on. We are proud of our culture and unless you have lived the way we did no study can make me believe otherwise. Thanks for all the comments and I love the pictures.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I'm african and before colonization we didn't have combs. Even old african movies showed how our hair grew naturally long because we didn't have combs. Maumau freedom fighters lived in the mountain forests and didn't use a comb, so this cutting of hair and combing and styling of hair was a western thing. We gotta keep our roots.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Very true

  35. Interesting comments. Now I will research this more and reach my own conclusions.Thanks for the interesting info.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Studies of well know breeds of tracking dogs have shown that long eared dogs tend to be better scent trackers because the loose swinging ears stir up scent from the ground so that it become available to the dogs nose. It is quite possible this works with hair and people.

    On the other hand I do not believe the long-haired tracking story. In Vietnam and until 1975 the Army maintained CTTs (Combat Tracking Teams). The heart of the team was a sniffer dog and a human dog handler trained in visual tracking and interpretation of visual sign. I was a photo officer, and while I and my team did not photograph CTTs other photo teams did and I have never sen long haired trackers. In Vietnam the rules became a little loosey goosey so it is possible some trackers did wear longer than regulation hair, but that would have been the exception rather than the rule.
    Anyhow the teams relied on the dogs vastly superior olfactory perception while the human did the job of interpreting visual sign.

    And I have also done some research on the Indian tribes of Pennsylvania in prerevolutionary times and during the revolution. Many Shawnee warriors shaved or plucked all hair from their heads.

    In 1880s Arizona there was Lozen, an Apache woman warrior, who was given the power to find the enemy which she did by going alone to a deserted spot, standing with her arms outstretched, her open palms facing skyward. She stood waiting, turning slowly until she felt a tingling in her palms. After this spiritual-physical experience, she knew that she had found the direction of the enemy. She could tell the distance of the enemy by the intensity of the tingling.

    Today a group of Tohono O'Odham warriors have been recruited to work for homeland security as trackers along the US/Mexico border. They are known as the Shadow Wolves, but they wear short to moderate length hair. Their success relies on a combination of modern technology, traditional visual tracking and knowledge, and the fact every square inch of that part of the state is their traditional home.

    Bottom line. Long hair could enhance smell over very short distances, but dogs are a thousand times more attuned to this.

    There are some points on both sides of the story, but I would like to see some real evidence of Native American recruitment. I will also be checking on a network of 100-200 Vietnam era combat photographers to see if any ever worked with combat tracking teams with long haired dog handlers/trackers. For me myth very unconfirmed at this point.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Hi, it is me ANONYMOUS again. I did check with my network of combat photographers and one called me back this morning. He partially confirmed the story about trackers. He was a photo officer on special assignment for General Rienzi (SP?) who headed the Signal Corps in Vietnam and his photo team actually documented tests run by Special Forces to compare Native American Trackers with Montagnard Tribesmen of Vietnam who at that time lived very close to the land and their ancient traditions. My source says that while the Montagnards were good the Native American's beat them hands down in tracking skills. He also confirms that cutting the hair seemed to diminish this power.

    While neither of us can say for sure, we tend to think that it was not that long hair was an advantage, but that cutting the hair caused a psychological "push back" and the trackers felt dissed. It could be white science bias, but we thing think that an unhappy tracker is not a good tracker. In any case my contact does confirm a correlation with Native American hair length and tracking ability in Vietnam. There is a good doctoral thesis here for anyone in Native American studies. Now I need to also talk to some Apache sources I have photographed in the past.

  38. As a Native American and a mother, I have an 8 yr. old son who has never had his hair cut and I would be furious if someone cut it! Heads would roll!! The reason I say this and is because it is a huge part of my ancestors past. I keep his hair long because in my grandmother's time, not so long ago, children in her school would be punished if they spoke in our native blackfeet tongue by getting their hair cut off. This disturbed me so much that it makes me cry every time I think about the ugly ignorance she once faced. Plus on a brighter note all the little girls in my son's class since kindergarten have had a crush on him and all the little boys that are his friends look up to him. He is an old soul and I think it does have to do with not only his look but what is deep in his soul that has been passed on from generation to generation. And let's face it men with long hair are hotter! lol Much Luv, RLY

  39. Anonymous says:

    The Samurai never cut their hair either and kept it in a top knot.

    The Sikh do not cut any of their hair for much of the same purpose.

  40. lonewolf john says:

    i have a story that the scalping started from Mexico! because the Mexican government put a bounty on The Appache indians, because of all trouble they had caused ,to the Mexican Army and all of the whites as well.
    so maybe it could have started from there.?????just another story to add to many , that are in the universe

  41. lonewolf john says:

    i wish to say one more thing . so i thank you for maybe reading this.
    i hope that all of the Nations people unite and it is most important
    for Elders and the older brother, sisters, uncles aunties etc , to pass on the tradtions . and everyone unite as Mother Nature is very Angry, at what the human race is doing to her. IF YOU LOVE NATURE, you will Survive.
    That is the message i got given to pass on . i have passed it on to a few friends and theylaughed. that is a laughter of the Scared! thank you

  42. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the article,always felt that.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I am sad because I cannot wear my hair long, it is a very curly and it is a knotted up mess when it's long.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I am a male; I for one had long hair when I was a child until I was 4 1/2 years of age. I had already been in 11 foster homes before the age of 4. I was taken to the barber shop one Saturday morning, all the while being told it would not hurt in their effort to coax me into a hair cut. I was having no part of their B.S. Finally my new dad of friendly persuasion beat my ass, three times before I would give in and allow my hair to be cut. Cried all the time while the barber was cutting my hair. I just didn't have the stamina to take a beating the fourth time, as they got to be longer and harder each time...My hair was down below my buttocks. I decided then and there I might have had to live with them, but; it did not mean I had to trust them. From that point on I took everything they had to say with a grain of salt. I questioned everything they told me from that point on as well. My adopted sister, which was of their blood, she and I used to make mom so angry because we would want to know WHY? There is much more to the story; as to the kind of hellion I was. More later, MAYBE..

  45. Anonymous says:

    There was fighting between American Indian nations before the French or other caucasians arrived, we do not hear about scalping until it was initiated by them. I can see how the French and other caucasians would want to deprive us of something we strongly believed in and was opposite to what they believed in. My opinion based on converstions here.

  46. Anonymous says:

    That was very it.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Didn't Jesus Christ have long hair as well as all the men who settled here from other worlds.When I look back,thousands of men had long hair and in time unless you are a white rock star,long hair is unprofessional,or if you are a wrestler.If you are an American Native then you are judged and made fun of.I grew up with it and cut my hair just to be half way accepted.Now we have alot of white and black people wanting to be native because it is cool for them now and powwows consist of white and black people.Weekend warriors.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I am a white man and for the first 40 years of my life I had my hair cut. Four years ago I started to regularly go to sweat lodges with some native friends of mine. I then stopped cutting my hair. Now it is long and I have sensed exactly what the article is talking about. It feels like I can feel things through my long hair just like I can feel things through my hands and feet. I feel like I can sense other people's and animal's (maybe even plant's too) emotions better. I also feel like I have become more attuned to knowing what is going on with the weather. My hair now seems to have become an extension of myself to the world. Now the thought of cutting it off to me seems like it would feel like cutting off one of my own appendages.

  49. Anonymous says:

    just a quick thought,, baldness,
    and then all that stuff that people put on their hair shampoos, conditioners ,colours .

  50. Anonymous says:

    In the book, Hanta Yo! by Ruth Beebee Hill, translated into English, from an almost three hundred year old Lakatoh document, by a full blood Dakotah Souix man. It is documented that indigenous peoples, such as the Souix, did in fact cut their hair as a sign of respect and anquish at the walking on of a family member or person of importance. They also took scalps occasionally from dead enemies, for reasons that vary, long before they had contact with white people. More often, they counted 'coup' by touching an enemy in battle to demonstrate their prowess over the enemy.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Also, I would like to point out that many indigenous peoples did, in fact cut part of their hair into designs and shave parts of their heads. The Crow and Iraqouis come to mind. Also, tattoos were practiced by some native cultures. California Maidu, my culture, was known as a tattoo tribe, alo
    ng with others from the east coast. I wear bear paw and grizzly bear tattoos as an homage to my great-grandfather who was born on the rez in Chico, CA.

  52. All I can say is Indian people never cease to amaze me. I am so interested in their stories that I always seek about then in encyclopedias and history books. I am always fascinated by their way of life, and their courage.

  53. But what is with Buddhist Yogis? They do not have any hair but they still very sensitive in terms of their environment. Among them are even people who have the same powers as shaman! They travel to other worlds in the position and are often used as a medium to gather information. Of course, this has to do with years of exercise in mindfulness, but that only proves that the hair is secondary in the performance! more important is the awareness of the mind!

  54. Anonymous says:

    hello. i'm mamakat taylor.
    no one has mentioned viewing the attached video. i watched half of it and will have to watch it again when the kids are asleep ("adventure time" is blaring in the background and the little boy in the video is soft-spoken so i can barely hear him)
    i am enjoying the comments here and the discussion. i am part cherokee and part hopi. my daddy served in vietnam and is now dying in the VA hospital thanks to the gov't's shady behavior during nam. (daddy and his platoon were sprayed w/agent orange to test it)
    although i don't look predominately native american, i am and hair is very important to me. not in a fashionable way as i don't have a clue how to blow dry or curl but in another sense - when i cut my hair off, i do feel dimished.
    my 10 y.o. son also has long hair and he's an old soul like racheal love yellow owl said.
    i don't have anything enlightening to add to this but i'm grateful to white wolf for posting this article.

  55. Anonymous says:

    The short haircut in Europa was imposed by the Romans while conquering all of the continent. Celts, Gauls, people from the north, ... all wore their hair long and didn't shave. Our original culture was close to nature too. Romans substituted their long hair by iron armour and flooded the western world and the territories around the Mediteranian.

  56. Anonymous says:

    and I want to add. People in Europe lost their original culture and were deprived of Connection. Here old wisdom was even more profoundly lost than for the Native Peoples in the States. A lot of us are just playing cowboy and indian but a lot of us are also desperately trying to reconnect and are looking for the reconnection in Native Indian cultures. It calls to us because it reminds us of what we feel was once our own heritage. No offence meant, I don't want to claim our people were the same in culture and belief. I just want to indicate we hear an echo in our souls of a way of life long lost. Thank you.

  57. Marleen Waldorf says:

    I have really enjoyed this article and all the comments from everyone. I had long hair from the time I was old enough to take care of it myself instead of my mom. I was able to sense if people were good or bad and I listened to my senses. I recently had a friend trim some off the bottom of my hair cause it was pretty split-ended and dead and she got carried away and took a whole lot more than she should have. I have not been able to feel like myself since that incident. I can't sense things about people I meet like I used to. I think there is a lot of truth to it along with beliefs from others. I love to read about the native american culture as my great grandmother was a full blooded cherokee who actually survived the trail of tears. My mother didn't ask enough questions of my grandmother, so I don't have enough information to be able to find her roll number but I sure would love to.

  58. Anonymous says:

    I'm not a native american, but I'm a Gallic ! A frenchman. And I've always loved the native americans, and I have a long hair...I've always loved long hairs. It's sensual, to feel it move when the wind blows, to feel it on my back when I swim. I feel one with nature, I feel I am really myself. You may believe in that type of things or not, I don't know myself, but one day a man that pretends to be able to "see" who you were in previous lives, has taken my hands and told me he saw me as a native american in the plains with wolves or wild dogs walking with me...I love that idea...And I've always loved long hair, and respected animals, and always deeply respected wolves...Who knows...But I'm proud to be unscalped !

  59. There is also the symbolism of connection to or divorce from nature/earth. In Christian culture there is long history of separation from the earthy towards the 'spiritual' and this is one source for cutting hair.. as it symbolizes connection to earth...thus women (who are deemed on the chain of being as closer to the earth primarily via the menstrual cycle) are regarded as 'less spiritual' and closer to the earth than men. Long hair, also a symbol of greater connection to earth (like other animals) is thus considered fitting for a woman and not a man... this is little known today except by academics but this is the legacy that has been passed down since the middle ages.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I am 56 and not of any Native American heritage. I have hair to my waist, and have found that the longer my hair grows the more my inner "knowing" is enhanced. My hair is largely white. Some people have asked me why I do not color my hair. My husband and I feel it is fine as it is. The only other time in my life it was long was when I was a hippie and when I became christian I cut it. Now that I am no longer a christian it is long and my "knowing " is back. Just a thought.

  61. Anonymous says:

    I believe this to be true, My hair is almost to my waist. 62 yrs old and many wonder why I don't cut it. I care less what they think. Its a Native knowing thing. Great article!

  62. Anonymous says:

    so what about the Mohicans? Shaved heads...

  63. Anonymous says:

    and Budhist monks...

  64. Also, never touch the hair of a married Aboriginal man. Only his wife can touch and braid it. What is practiced or believed in one Tribe, may not apply to another Tribe. Each has their own customs, history, teachings, ceremonies. Some are the same, many differ. So when you visit each Tribe or Nation, just don't assume that they are all the same.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful post!

  66. veronica says:

    Very interesting article. I was horrified to read that people touch your hair or clothing - how very rude!

  67. Neo says:

    Bereavement is consistent and I will cut mine today if I lose somebody close to me. Scalping for bounty is consistent with history also wether European or English or Mexican it was not the native American that introduced it. Counting coup was a non violent way of embarrassing the enemy to express victory. Red feathers were worn to express a history of victories by a warrior.

  68. Anonymous says:

    at 57 I can say the only time I ever had hair shorter than mid-back was when I shaved my head in sympathy for my BFF at her last chemo treatment, we both felt lost and naked, but happily it has grown back longer, faster and softer: waist long again in only 4 years, I'll never do that again! I floundered the first 2 years!

  69. IamLNZ says:

    To give you a different outlook .. I'm Chippewa, my parents were both ripped from theyre parents at the age of 7 and sent off to boarding schools. Later were put back on the reservation, my father served three tours of duty in Vietnam. He was station along the Ho Chi Minh trail, is very decorated and is First Cav. When he enlisted he was 18 and saw it as his only chance to get off the reservation and maybe have some kind of life after. He decided that, even though he may die, it was better than being denied employment and looked down on because he is Native. Unfortunately, we were set up to fail and of course I can go on. The only time I saw my father break down was in 2001 when I was going to enlist with the Army. We should have known something was coming our way. We had recruiters that "set up shop" at our high school since 2000. They spent a lot of time with my class (juniors) and the senior class. 19 of my classmates went on, again suckered into a life of travel, an actual opportunity to provide for your future with free college and bring pride to your family. We were told by a certain Army recruiter when questioned about Iraq...his response "You don't need to worry, we have it under control, in and out within 6 weeks." I scored high on my asvab twice, it made my father nervous. The Army recruiter tried to sink his claws in me...said he would have a sit down with my father because he knew he was the reason I wouldnt go. There wasn't nice words exchanged, he told him they were vultures praying on impressional young adults with the need to feel free from the constraints of the box with invisible bars we grew up on. He was treated badly, the racism didn't change after he was back, he was screwed up in the head, he has neurological problems because he was there at the hight of the Agent Orange/white dump. They had to sleep on the ground saturated with that shit and that he's done things to protect his friends lives and his own. He had done the governments work, enough to last past his great grandchildren. All of this he done to have a taste of the American dream that he felt he never otherwise would have had because he was Native. Of course, he also found out that it was a lie and they are praying on us in that same manner. He told him to never speak to me again or he would show him the things he had to do to get out. In the case of my 19 classmates who left and never came back the same...some just was the same. An opportunity to be something more instead of these racial restraints that hold us. If you haven't lived the life or had to walk the past that the government has tried to hide for could never understand. There is much more going on within the homeland than worrying about what crimes the US has committed across seas. Maybe, if it is maddening to you, you should look at the genocide that my people have faced upon the hands of the government. I doubt however, that it matters more than again, the crimes committed over seas. Which only solidifies everything I just said.

  70. Anonymous says:

    The book 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' suggests that Native Americans learned scalping from the Spanish in Mexico. The book also details account after account of particularly savage and brutal treatment of Native Americans by US Army personnel, including killing of infants, children and defenseless women and cutting away the women's genitalia to stretch across their saddles on display as trophies of 'war'....yet when the stories reached the newspapers back east, the Native Americans were painted as the villains. Who can blame tribes of indigenous people for fighting back when their land was stolen, their ponies were slaughtered, their villages burnt, their main food source (buffalo) recklessly killed off and left to waste after buffalo pelts had been taken to sell as furs??

    How many Americans would know this part of their own history? And in many ways, it's far more savage and cruel than the actions of Islamic fundamentalists, but modern white Americans remain ignorant of their own history and believe naiively that it could never happen in America.

    In general, white Americans have used the force of numbers and the might of muskets to squash any cultural practices they don't understand, and the worst cruelty you can enact on any person is to take away their culture, which shapes their identity and their spirit. Is it any wonder so many Native Americans confined to reservations, judged by the white majority (which is in fact shrinking - maybe that's why so many people are so scared!!), excluded from so many opportunities, separated from their cultural heritage and their own soul, give up in despair or seek refuge in escape via substance abuse? I personally heard a Texan spewing criticism of Native Americans in such a situation, yet he was totally oblivious of how his own attitude was part of creating that very same dynamic.

  71. Anonymous says:

    at the age of 8 or 9 yrs old I took a great interest in native ways. I didn't know why. At 10, I commandeered the red wagon and planted acorns and dared anyone to touch it. At 15, I grew a garden w/total lack of knowledge. I have never stopped being drawn to the native ways. In 2003, I found out that I have native blood in me, on my mother's mother's mother's side of the family. How much, I don't know, but it explains a lot of my feelings towards a lot of things. I still cherish the earth and grow veggies and love nature. This is the first time I have heard of the hair thing. I think I will let mine grow again.

  72. inprison says:

    Anonymous don't give up your christiany because you have long hair, I have long hair now which I didn't four years ago. I am a christian and attend Church of Christ.

  73. Anonymous says:

    I am of Maori descent from Aotearoa New Zealand! Our native traditions are very similar, our women and men also kept there hair long and it is told that we hold our MANA (strength) in our hair also. We also consider hair TAPU (sacred) you can not burn hair and you have to bury it or someone can cast a curse on you with your hair, spit or fingernails. Todays so called brainy scientists have discovered somthing known as DNA which lives in these parts of the body. Maybe it is actully rediscovered knowledge. I have noticed many forms of oppresion through simple forms of of haircutting and wearing of shoes which forces us to disconnect from nature. The words you speak are true I know this because I trust my essence, Thankyou for sharing this beautiful article it has enlightened me more on the reasons why we keep our hair long.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I believe that the true Americans (Native Americans) have been treated badly from the start. The "Whites" have treated anyone not white is such as bad and dishonest way that it makes me sick to say that I am white. I have been doing my family's history, because my family thinks that my fathers side has some native blood, as of yet I have not found any. That does not stop me from feeling badly for what has been done to the Native Americans for that last 200+ years. I believe that this country needs to return to its roots. Go back as far as we can in history and correct the wrongs and get this country back on track. I don't know about the hair thing, I don't really think my opinion on the matter is important. What is important is that we as AMERICANS, white, black, native, whatever, We come together as one and fix this country. I hate the Native American, African American labels. If you where born here or came here and became an American, you are American not all this other crap. Thanks for letting me rant. May the Great Spirit be with all.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I grew up a child of Hippies and later cut my hair to get employment. When the U.S.A. started killing in the new unjust war in the middle east I felt I should stop conforming to the conservative nature of this country and have not cut my hair since. Long hair is a sign of being happy with who you are, as we were intended to be. It can also be a sign of protest against a society that rewards conformity.

  76. Several Indigenous tribes let their hair grow UNLESS cutting was to express grief, loss, strong opinions. Death of a loved one being the most common reason. Sometimes a Forelock was cut OR was all that was left--sometimes it was a single lock in the back of or on top of the head. Others cut only the sides and the front. Occasionally it was one side only and often the entire head was plucked or shaved. Some tribes with hairless bodies never, ever shave but are taught to pluck every hair on their body EXCEPT their scalp hair. Hair {having it or lack of having it} plays a large part of most religions--Indigenous or Christian, Jew or Sunni, Catholic or Hindi. I don't study Eastern religions so have no knowledge of their practices, other than common knowledge such as what we see daily 24/7 about religious wars, religious genocide, religious suicide, religious Nirvana, rewards after death. As a Choctaw Matron I still have long hair and feel part of ME and part of my self image drops away also when I finally overrule my brain and get it trimmed. Then I can hardly wait to get back to that length and feel 'settled, safe and myself again'. Removing my Soap Box...

  77. Anonymous says:

    Hello!This was wonderful information. Very interesting and what we instictively already know despite us being disoriented by trends sometimes..I would suggest and very much appreciate if you posted some tips from Νatives about how to treat our hair in order to keep them strong and long!The world has so much to learn from you!

  78. Anonymous says:

    I have noticed when my hair is longer I tend to think deeper; when my head is shaved I think and react quicker...Maybe people need different combinations of hair length for different situations. In this series of posts I have noticed that for the most part everyone has stayed on topic and refrained from personal insults, even when they disagree. On most discussions I witness this is not the case. As soon as someone with an opposing viewpoint makes a solid point, the discussion turns into a pointless argument...could it be that in this discussion most of the people have long hair? Maybe just open minds? Regardless--Love to you all

  79. Anonymous says:

    My boyfriend is Cherokee, a tribal member of the Eastern Band. The Cherokee wore their hair several different ways. Some shaved their heads, some wore it long, some shaved it all except in the back and it was worn long in a braid. You have to remember that there were hundreds of different tribes with all different customs. Maybe these things did happen but to say it was just due to the hair being cut, I don't know. It was a very interesting article and worthy of more research. I would also think maybe why Natives didn't want to cut their hair was due to them being made to cut their hair (boys) when being assimilated into the "white" society. Their hair was part of what made them what they were and to take that away must have been devastating

  80. Anonymous says:

    The earlier Celtic tribes of Europe, were indeed some of the worlds few actual head hunting tribes. Skulls of enemies were kept, polished, honored and on display in Warriors homes and entrance ways to villages to show off the might of that tribe to passers by. This tradition was effective in many ways when dealing with enemies, the mental effect of finding headless comrades strewn on the battle fields helped demoralize other advancing troops, filling them with fear. This tradition was phased out and may have morphed into the more economical form of scalping over the next few centuries. This trophy taking then was in turn passed onto the Natives of North America as proof of kills. 'Celt' as a term for many Europeans is as incorrect as 'Indians' is to the North American Natives. The Celtic Gauls (French) were also one of these earlier head hunting tribes, as were the Picts of Scotland and many others. To argue it came from the French or British first, is redundant, as both have a very deep history in these practices. I too heard it was the French who introduced it to the Natives, however natives tired of risking their lives to get Brit scalps and unhappy about the war all together, started scalping the French as well, flowering the hair and selling it back to them as British scalps.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I agree, I have been growing my hair now for five years. It is down to my waist and I feel I am very much in tone mentally with my environment. I thought it was crazy for thinking this way, but I know my late grandmother always encouraged me " never cut your hair".

  82. Really interesting to know amazing facts. Thanks for enriching my knowledge about the people whom I love and admire a lot. Thanks a lot.

  83. Anonymous says:

    When I was younger, I always had my hair long. When I got married and had children, had my hair short, to keep peace in the family, you know what I mean. Never really had peace while my hair has been short, but I'm on my way back though, for good.

  84. Anonymous says:

    a very pan view on hair, contrary to popular belief we are very diverse peoples with different customs and traditions. the pictures you show of our people were all staged and shot by professional photographers which show some interesting pieces of our culture but is not reflective of our everyday attire or look.

  85. Anonymous says:

    If we were not meant to wear long hair, why does it grow? Hair on all other parts of our bodies grows to a certain length, but not our hair. I think cutting it is an attempt to make people conform, to make them feel naked and exposed. Makes people easier to manipulate in my opinion. So much easier to have us all do the same things when we look the same. Long hair expresses individuality. Lice is the main reason hair was cut short, the English in their large masses were petrified of disease. I don't think natives really had this problem until it was introduced to them.

  86. Anonymous says:

    I am from the northern part of our turtle island. This reading brought to mind one memory of an incident in my young adult life when I joined a police force. Short hair was a requirement, at the time, of the young men. I watched a few of the young cadets go off for their haircuts, all of them in a happy,carefree mood. They all returned from the barbers very subdued and looking pensive I think, touching, rubbing their heads. One young man in particular had an awfully sad look I still remember. It seemed to say "what have I done!? " He'd had beautiful long braids. My heart felt squeezed thinking of his hair loss. He said that his father and grandfather would be horrified. In reading the previous comments, I do agree with some of them regarding our long hair giving us "SOMETHING." Certainly, I also have a strong need to touch mother earth if I am away for too long in an urban environment. By the way, the option is now in place for a (male) police recruit to keep their hair long or short, depending on their preference.

  87. Bernice says:

    I'm a cree woman from Alberta I too Believe that your hair is your strength and you don't throw your hair away .It's like throwing your thoughts away or having people walk over your thoughts

  88. Anonymous says:

    I lost my husband to bone cancer in 2009. The day of his funeral I cut off my waist length hair. I kept it short. In 2011 my grandson was killed in Iraq. I cut my hair very short then. Then on July 25 th of 2012 my Daughter died. We found her not breathing and I did cpr until the rescue squad arrived. She died on August 11th. I had my head shaved. I still wear my hair very short. As a child my 2 brothers were killed, my Mother had her hair cut very short. My parents had told me that you cut your hair very short and keep it that way for 4 years, then you can grow it out again.

  89. Anonymous says:

    You think Africans don't have hair??

  90. Anonymous says:

    That is an illogical statement. Their tools and life style are irrelevant. They could and sometimes did cut and shave their hair. But they largely chose to keep it long, for a reason.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing such an emotive and personal insight.

  92. The reason why Sampson lost His Power is because He took the Vows of a Nazerite which one cannot shave. The hair was irrelevant and had nothing to do with his strength! If who ever reads this does not understand than put it on a shelf and let it rest there. Those who do understand, Congratulations because you have eyes to see and ears to hear!!

  93. Therese says:

    I thank you also
    People. NEED. to know and be more aware of what this country is doing behind the headlines

  94. Therese says:

    I thank you also
    People. NEED. to know and be more aware of what this country is doing behind the headlines

  95. Cynthia star in skis says:

    We did this for our mother. Even though we.are catholic we never forget our culture.

  96. Cynthia star in skis says:

    We did this for our mother. Even though we.are catholic we never forget our culture.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Very well put....thank you for your words brother.

  98. Floyd says:

    Romans made their soldiers cut their hair so it could not be grabbed in hand to hand battle.

  99. Anonymous says:

    i think I would like to see this study. This all sounds like a grand story that someone made up and it got passed around the internet like stories do.

  100. Anonymous says:

    This, too, is what I was taught and traditions honored.

  101. Kenneth Penman says:

    My understanding of the practice of scalping is that it was originally implemented as a terrorism and intimidation tactic against the Native Americans of the northeast during the French and Indian Wars. Rationale was that they believed Native Americans had a tremendous fear of losing their hair or major body part thus being denied passage the spirit world since they were unwhole or incomplete. I also have read that the British intitiated the practice of trading with or simply giving out small pox infested blankets as part of a intentional policy of ethnic cleansing or genocide of the Native population. Cross-country buffalo hunts were commonplace as Eastern city slickers would shoot buffalo from train cars, leaving them to rot, whether the hide was harvested or not, there on the Plains where they dropped and died. Again, part of the policy of genocide practiced by the the US Govt.. I am white and grew up in western New York - Niagara Falls, NY, and home of the Tuscarora Indians...I witnessed how they were marginalized and discriminated against. I always hated that and to this day cannot look at my country as the great white hope when I know what our history has been, and is. For example, as recently as 1912, the year my grandmother was born and theyear that Arizona and New Mexico became states, Gen John "Blackjack" Pershing was chasing Geronimo into Mexico! That's barely 100 years ago, I am a retired USAF veteran - 21 years, but have lived outside of the US for a total of 20 years. I have observed how the much of the world views the US - good and bad. So, my perspective is not that of a typical WASP, which I am. I am very spiritual and know that I have lived many lives and returned many times as part of my ultimate evolution and transformation. This article I found very interesting and it peaked my interest, because lately, I have begun to grow my hair long again - it just felt right and after reading so many personal comments, I will continue. It is my unyielding belief that there is enough of everything on this planet for each and every one of us if we only take that which corresponds to us and give back that which we do not need. Peace and serenity to you all...

  102. Anonymous says:

    Vinceremos, England is in Europe. Hence, Europeans.

  103. Anonymous says:

    As far as having primitive tools: Natives had tools strong enough to pierce hides, butcher buffalo, filet fish, sew and do fine needlework, etc. To say that their tools were too "primitive" to cut their hair, if desired, is ignorant.

  104. Anonymous says:

    Excellent. Thank you for sharing.

  105. Hi my name is Ryan Dominguez and I fell the all Indians so have the right to keep there long hair; now if u try to take that right away from the Indians I don't know how many would be happy with all the people that try to make this a law.

  106. Anonymous says:

    Romans cut and made wigs of german tribes (blond) to look like their gods (scalps)?

  107. Christina says:

    This is interesting! Not sure on the truth because I never heard this before.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing . its sad the army takes advantage of our youngsters , they go to public schools and recruit kuds , you don't see them holding a post in private schools where rich parents keep there kids and away from this .

  109. Anonymous says:

    I have always had my hair long. I believe that with all of the other reasons for having the hair long both men and women. In my belief there is nothing more sensual than for your husband's hair to touch you during loving. If both husband and wife keep their hair long, the loving is much more than mating, it's deeper loving within the heart. I am Choctaw/Comanche with skin of white (my father) and the only time I've cut my hair is for mourning of someone very close like my Mother and my son. I'm now 62 years and I still braid my hair and care for it as I always have. Thank you for sharing these insights to those who didn't understand.

  110. Anonymous says:

    FACT: England is an island, Europe is a continent - English are different than Europeans, and have been throughout history. With that being said, I'm 2 years into my "regrowth" and I am fascinated by this article and all of the supporting comments. Though I am of Anglo-Saxon / European ancestry I believe there is merit in many of these theories and statements. I was already planning a day to reconnect with nature in a place that was inaccessible to me when I was young and has now been dedicated a Conservation Area in my home state of Missouri this coming weekend - now I will take special care to pay attention to my hair and see if I can sense anything better than the last time I had a day out, when I had VERY short hair! Thanks again to everyone that has contributed, especially the vets and their families Proud son of a US Navy Corpsman, Vietnam Era, Camp Pendleton CA.

  111. Anonymous says:

    It's pretty simple: Don't mess with Mother Nature. If we were not meant to have long hair, our hair would not grow. There is a reason for hair, on every part of the body. We generally do not approve of clear cutting the forests, so why clear cut the hair off our bodies? :-)

  112. Anonymous says:

    Haha. Hair does not have nerve endings. That is just blatantly and empirically false. If you could feel through your hair than getting a haircut would hurt.

  113. Anonymous says:

    The story of what happened in Vietnam is BS. Indians who had never be off the reservation could not cope with the stress and unfamiliar life of combat. Their grandfathers were warriors but they were not. They were drunkards, dopers, welfare cases. Not warriors.. I know we had them brought into my unit and to a man they were worthless.

  114. Tejae says:

    I have five daughters and most didn't have their hair cut until age 8 or older. Even then, most of the time their hair grows quickly and many times they have cut it off donating a foot or more to locks of love and I have to say that the longer their hair, the more tears come when it is cut off. It hasn't mattered who was there when we cut it or where it was cut, each has cried and felt stupid because they did cry when their hair was cut. They were excited to have their hair cut so it wasn't regret as they liked the way their hair looked after as well. I had my hair trimmed only once until I was I was 12 and I would sit on it. I don't remember crying about it but short or long, I think some people are just more sensitive and there must be something to crying with that hair being cut and perhaps they could cry more easily when grieving by cutting the hair off and starting new. I have lived many places in the US and in other countries and love learning about the different beliefs and cultures. We all have something to learn from others.

  115. Tom says:

    So what's it mean for you if you're going bald?

  116. Anonymous says:

    My understanding is that hair grows a determined length for 7 years, and each hair strand has a life cycle of 7 years. The hairs are coming in and falling at different times. Some people will grow shoulder length hair in 7 years, some will grow hair to the floor in the same time frame. I have not cut my hair in about 5 years and feel better this way. I also shaved my head as part of an intense personal spiritual experience. Both being shaved and being with uncut hair have costs & benefits, and more importantly lessons of experience inwardly and outwardly. I wish that all people with and without hair, cut or uncut, traditional or not, connect with what is deeply true in any moment for them, and have their hair be an extension of that truth. Peace to all, and All to Peace.

  117. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. My son is thinking of a career with the army and I don't know how to convince him not to. I shall share your story in hopes he will think twice.

  118. Anonymous says:

    Just fy&i - It was not indians that started scalpings. It was the non-natives, caucasions, Europeans what have you, that did. This was to 'Get Paid'. Natives started only as retaliation for this being done TO them. Old cowboy flix did NOT portray the truth but as always, Hollywood's version of THEIR truth. That's why John Wayne was glamorized as a 'prairie nigger slayer.' As an indian I do still follow many traditions taught by my parents & grandparents. There are many stories that have not been heard from history. Learn the facts.

  119. Anonymous says:

    I believe is point is that Europe is culturally diverse and that because Europeans share a continent and a skin color it does not make all Europeans the same people.

  120. Anonymous says:

    The term "Indian" is actually a misrepresentation of culture, traditions, and heritage. Native Americans, is more like it. What I've been told from my great-great grandparents is that, your long hair is your is your knowledge that grows with your body and spirit. Cutting your hair leads to, cutting your spiritual side, and knowledge that grows into one. (Not sure if I'm explaining it right. It was said to me Navajo, from my grandparents.)

  121. Anonymous says:

    Definitely something to think about. Thanks for the info!

  122. Anonymous says:

    You are so right. That dastardly deed originated with the whites.

  123. Anonymous says:

    England is in no way "in" Europe. It is on an island of countries called the United Kingdom. Do your research.

  124. Anonymous says:

    Do some of your own, you muppet! The UK is part of Europe. *sigh*

  125. Anonymous says:

    They were pissed they cut their hair end of story. Moral of the story? Don't screw with people if you want their best.

  126. Anonymous says:

    I am 52, and have had long hair almost all of my life. I like to keep it to my waist. I feel more feminine and I do feel that my hair has power. I can't explain it, and don't feel the need to. I trust my feelings. I don't even like trimming my hair. It feels more natural and powerful if left to grow as it will. I am Philipino and Dutch. I have Philippine coloring, which I like. I identify with indigenous people, because my father was indigenous. Really, all humans are or were, at some point, indigenous - connected with the land and with traditions connected with the living earth and the living Universe. 'Colonization' has been going on for 1000's of years. It is an ongoing process. Schooling, the money system, the social structure, the increasing domination of the planet by the Western paradigm...these all continue colonization repeatedly for all peoples. But we can remember who we truly are - of and with the land - of and with the Earth - powerful, connected, beautiful... Do not forget who you are. The seed of truth lives in all of us and will grow if simply seen, felt, loved... Yes, there are powerful forces that work to stamp out Memory from all peoples. Yes, 'conspiracies' are real and obvious for those with eyes to see, hearts and souls to feel, and ears to hear. History is warped and told by those who win by their violence and evil, and the blind who follow them and do their bidding. The oppressor mind has been internalized by all of us - consciousness and remembering what it is to be truly human frees us from the ignorance and slavery bit by bit. Stop the colonization inside yourself. We have only to remember our power. It is a practice of minutes and days. The earth awakens and remembers herself with us.

  127. Anonymous says:

    This explains when I had long hair, my sixth sense was the highest ever in my life! I will grow my hair again! Thank you!

  128. Anonymous says:

    so many of the old ways are getting lost because the new generation has lost the sight to see them because of the electronic age gadgets

  129. Anonymous says:

    To the people who say that scalping was the Natives way of preventing a person's spirit of getting to the afterlife: Scalping was a barbaric practice brought to North America via the Dutch people. The English paid for scalps of the Native tribes allied with the French. They commissioned the Native tribes that were their allies to collect these scalps.

  130. Anonymous says:

    Actually, they were at my Christian school. I received many calls because of my high score.

  131. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the story, it sounds very familiar having spoken to many of the elders of the Potawatomi rez they went through a very similar situation growing up

  132. niecy says:

    Not only do Africans have plenty of hair, but they have 9 ether hair that spirals like the universal spiral found throughout nature. Africans also believed there hair to be antennas that connected them to nature & allowed them to communicate with nature & the Creator. They also believed in only letting trustworthy ppl touch their hair because if it got into the wrong hands it could be used for bad things. You should do your research because that was a pretty ignorant statement to make & stereotypical assumption.

  133. Lisa Sage says:

    Very interesting article! I wrote a novel called "Red, White & Blues" and have Native Americans characters (specifically Ojibwa). One of them goes to Vietnam, but I actually had him cut his hair BEFORE going over & giving the braid to his girlfriend, thinking that he was going to have it cut off anyway at boot camp. Thanks for the read!

  134. Michael B. Roy says:

    Interesting article about hair and cultural beliefs. While I respect 'beliefs' it is important to note that hair is not 'connected to the nervous system.' "Hair growth begins inside the hair follicle. The only "living" portion of the hair is found in the follicle. The hair that is visible is the hair shaft, which exhibits no biochemical activity and is considered "dead". The base of a hair's root (the "bulb") contains the cells that produce the hair shaft. Other structures of the hair follicle include the oil producing sebaceous gland which lubricates the hair and the arrector pili muscles, which are responsible for causing hairs to stand up."

  135. S L says:

    Thank you. That's it exactly.

  136. Anonymous says:

    Many Natives tribes braided their hair as a tradition well before contact with Europeans. Some did not and still do not. There are few if any traditions of hair that all tribes practiced.

  137. When I was a child I was raised in the desert of Nevada, my father was from Red River County, TX and his Mother was OK, Choctaw and his Grandmother MS Choctaw, his father part Cherokee my mother was blue blood English. I took on the white face but as a child my white step father forced us to get short hair cuts I always felt really angry and confused after words as to why I was forced to be a certain way when I knew in my sprite I wasn't, when I turned 12 I stood up to him and told him two things, I am a young man and he will not lay a hand on me ever again without a fight and I would were my hair as long as I wanted to, since that day I have kept long hair unless forced to cut it, my tribe called me dragon because they said my words had fire, my sprite guide the Red Tail Hawk has always been with me and brings me MGS from above, soon a white man will carry his word to the Nations and he will tell them, Awaken the time has come!

  138. Unknown says:

    Hi my name is Crazy Two Feathers Fox I've known about the hair for a long time now, but I do have a question about cutting hair. I'm Tsalagi, Siksika and white, my daughters mom is Irish. When our daughter was growing up I wouldn't allow her hair to be cut, I would allow for it to be trimmed but never cut. So things between my daughters mom and I got very bad and we split up a few months later my ex had talked my daughter into cutting her hair. I ask her if it was what she really wanted and she said yes. I ask the woman that was going to cut her hair to place the hair into two pony tails and to cut it there so I could save it as a memory. Over the years things between my daughter have gotten very bad, mostly because I was not allowed to raise her. I have held onto that pony tail and thought about my daughter when sad and lonely for her. I've been having a dream to send her the hair so that she can be whole again and I'm not sure what to say in a letter to her when she gets the hair back because she has been raised in the white ways and she already sees me as a nut case. I want things to be better between us and I know now that me having her hair cut all them years ago was bad. How do i make this right. I want for her to be whole again and not be lost in the world of hate she is now in. My email is Thank y'all for any help y'all can give me.

  139. DREAMOKWA says:

    J'ai aimé cet article, je me sens concernée même si je suis française. J'ai toujours porté les cheveux longs, mes 4 filles aussi, mes 2 petites filles...cela a toujours été vital pour moi , sans explication logique. C'est viscéral !!! L'homme a des cheveux, des poils , c'est donc naturel et , à l'origine, utile ?! Donc cheveux longs toujours et cette explication que vous venez de donner me semble bien plus vraie que tout autre. Notre force existe en nous, tout ce qui nous fait "homme" et pour ma part, les cheveux sont une part vivante de nous même et de ce fait, garder les cheveux longs nous gardent " complet" ... Hum, pas facile de l'écrire , c'est un sentiment très particulier !!! Bien à vous,

  140. Unknown says:

    Scalping dates all the way back to 5th Century BC to the Scythians. The Visigoths also scalped. Before they began scalping, they just chopped off the heads of those they defeated in battle.

  141. My grandmother's tribe was the tribe of the long hairs of the Cherokee Nation. My hair length is very important to me.

  142. My grandmother's tribe was the tribe of the long hairs of the Cherokee Nation. My hair length is very important to me.

  143. Siggi Miller says:

    Thank you so much everyone. I'm white, but my fiance is Anishinaabe and Oneida. Recently, he's been getting into his culture and traditions, especially with Anishinaabe spirituality.
    This makes me very happy because he has a young daughter who we'd love to instill good morals and life skills from her heritage, along w some of my German ones. Right now he's been a growing out his beautiful hair, but we've been having a hard time finding how Anishinaabe men traditionally wore their hair along with the stories and reasons. So much was lost because of the horrors done to the lost generation. My fiancé's father was one of the last children from this terrible time, the depth of which I had been so unaware of. My own family's trials were similar, a German family coming over right before America joined into WWII. My grandfather had to go through a similar "Americanizing" schools, stripping us of our names, accents, traditions, history (though not lost to colonization), and more.
    While in no way even close to the horrors my fiancé's family endured, it is a small area we can relate to. I'd love to help him honor his heritage. Can anyone point me in the right direction for Anishinaabe culture and lifestyles, especially hair? I can be contacted at:
    Thank you!

  144. Anonymous says:

    I found out of all the comments only a couple that mentioned one important aspect of this discussion. We would not be having this discussion if it were not for the fact that hair on the head exists due to our evolution as a species.

    The hair on most other parts of our body has decreased to almost being non-existent, implying it has become non-essential except for the way that it is now. Some of these functions are to help sweat to evaporate, or in the case of eyebrows to reduce the chance of sweat running into our eyes.

    Hair on the head exists because it is what helped our species to become what we are. There are two important aspects of why a species appears the way it does. One is to survive longer giving it a better chance to continue its genes to a new generation. For many species, that involves the ability to "blend in" to their surroundings, and for others to look more fierce to ward off predators. A second aspect is the ability to attract the opposite sex in order to ensure those genes do continue to a new generation. Surely head hair's function is either frightening to potential enemies, helps us blend into our surroundings, or it is a great attraction for the opposite sex. As one commenter pointed out, long hair comes into play as an essential ingredient of loving, and as another mentioned, long hair is more attractive. In that sense, it is an essential part of our makeup that helps us survive.

    Long head hair is susceptible to breakage, which is based on its health. Depending on culture, climate, and what one consumes, and what one does to maintain the hair has an effect, but it is largely due to hereditary inclinations. For example, is is not uncommon to see women in the South Pacific with floor-length hair. Indigenous people of North and South America have also had the genes to grow exceptionally long and healthy hair.

    Regardless of how healthy the hair is, all hair grows to its sustainable length before it falls out and is replaced by new strands. That is the same regardless of where on the body the hair grows. Hair on the head can grow much longer than any other hair on our body. It happened for a reason, even though that reason may not be as important as it once was. Look at our little tow; it does not have as much function as it once did, and eventually will cease to exist. Our head hair could do the same, but that will not happen for a very long time.

    The length of head hair has one of the greatest impacts on our overall appearance, and that alone could be why we still have it. Enjoy it while we have it.

  145. Anonymous says:

    Kenneth Penman says:

    "For example, as recently as 1912, the year my grandmother was born and theyear that Arizona and New Mexico became states, Gen John "Blackjack" Pershing was chasing Geronimo into Mexico! That's barely 100 years ago, I am a retired USAF veteran - 21 years, but have lived outside of the US for a total of 20 years."

    Well, that is not accurate. Geronimo was no longer alive in 1912, and Pershing was not in the U.S.
    In 1909, Geronimo died while in Oklahoma. His surrender to the U.S. had taken place 26 years before 1912 when he was much younger (aged 57) in 1886.
    In 1912, John J. "Blackjack" Pershing was in the Philippines. He had been stationed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1904, while Geronimo was still alive at nearby Fort Sill.
    In 1914, Pershing was assigned to a mission to go into Mexico to round up Pancho Villa. Some of Pancho's men were captured but Not Pancho himself.

  146. Anonymous says:

    There have been several comments stating whether scalping started with natives or were introduced by the Europeans to the natives. Neither are accurate. Most of these opinions are related to the times of the European settlements in North America, and more specifically in what is now known as the United States.

    Some say that natives got it from Mexicans, and others have stated that it was first used by natives in the U.S., and then later in Mexico. Many of these references pertain to times when parts of what is now the United States was being settled, which implies the 1800s. A lot of our "Western" movies are based in this time frame. These dates make it sound like the "scalping days" happened within the last 200 years or so, with some starting in the late 1700s with things like the French and Indian Wars.

    The question remains, is that when scalping started in the Wild West?

    Sadly, as far back as history has found, scalping has existed to some degree in many cultures all around the world, with more inclination to it being an acceptable practice the more primitive the society has been, compared to what we think our more modern societies are.

    In nearly every history of exploration the world over, and even into the New World, there have been occurrences of scalping taking place. When Europeans first explored parts of Africa and Asia, they have documented finding scalping, beheading, and other forms of body mutilation of enemies that had been part of the people's culture. In the New World, Jesuit records often covered what military records left out. During the 1500s, the pain and suffering, and punishments by the Spanish to indigenous people went far beyond what later Europeans did. Scalping was one of those punishments to compel the native work forces of just what could be their punishment if they resisted. It was not the introduction of scalping; it simply was more common at that time. Natives already knew it and had inflicted it on their own enemies.

    Surely, everyone has head of "Shrunken Heads" and even cannibalism, which ranks just as terrible as scalping. We think of cannibalism as being something that was discovered deep within the jungles of Africa. No one could imagine that happened in the U.S. but cannibalism was rumored one of the atrocities of the Tonakawa Massacre, and on both sides between Tonkawa and Comanche. That was 1862.

    With war of any type, what would normally be considered civilized mankind, they have delved back into some very primitive practices, with scalping being one of those.

    Wars between North American natives were taking place long before any Europeans arrived. Often over land or other grievances. Besides hunting land disputes, would North American natives commit other atrocities?

    One of the United States most celebrated natives is the lady named Sacagawea, the wife of the French-Canadian fur-trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, who lived with the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes of North Dakota when the Lewis and Clark, Corp of Discovery came through. The Mandan and Hidatsa had banded together to live next to each other in their own villages. Sacagawea was sold to Toussaint Charbonneau to be his wife. So was Sacagawea Mandan or Hidatsa? She was neither. Sacagawea had been kidnapped by the Hidatsa from the Shoshone that lived way out west in Montana. This was a way of life among natives of North America.

    Just like waring between tribes of North America had existed for as long as any could tell by stories passed down, there have been indications of scalping taking place long before any Europeans arrived. That certainly was the idea during the original new World vs. old World conflicts, and on into the New World Settlers vs. Natives. The stories may not be told the same way today, but the research remains the same.

  147. Anonymous says:

    One commenter mentioned the taking of their native's horses from them, but just as important is how did the natives get horses in the first place.

    The "New World" was first explored by the Spanish, starting from their colonizations in the Caribbean (Hispaniola, what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and then from Cuba, the new Spanish headquarters in the New World. These explorations went into South America extensively, raiding villages in search of gold, and successfully sent a lot back to Spain. Further exploration was into the Latin American countries long before they ventured into what is now the United States.

    By 1521, Spain had decided to establish a New World governing body, which covered Mexico and into parts of the Southwest of what is now the United States. By 1535, "New Spain" was established with the capitol being in what is now Mexico City, and ruled by the Viceroy of New Spain, who was appointed by the King of Spain.

    Explorations starting from Mexico ventured into the Southwest of what is now part of the United States (Coronado 1540-42). These explorations also battled the natives, and during some of these battles, Spanish horses were taken by the natives. This is how the New World acquired modern horses for the first time. This took place in the 1540s, with southern tribes adopting horses nearly 200 years before northern tribes. It was not until the 1730s that the Cree (Montana area ever saw a horse). A Cree Chief went to see one that had died. It reminded him of the Elk but without antlers. Since it did the work of the dog for the white man, they named it the Big Dog.

    Horses quickly became a valuable commodity to natives, but that also changed the culture of the natives. For the first time, they had an animal that required tending, feeding, etc, unlike the dogs that had been used to transport the tipis when natives moved. Dogs could live off of the scraps, and had little inclination to wander off. Horses were different.

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