This amazing young Alaska Native woman is reviving the once forbidden art of traditional chin tattooing and dancing.

Marjorie Tahbone is an Inupiat traditional tattoo artist from Nome, Alaska. 'It's been asleep for so long,' she says of of the practice of Inuit women's tattoos, 'Having it re-awoken and coming back into our lives is so important and vital.'

Traditionally, Inuit women inked their skin to represent something of significance in their lives, from marriage to children or spiritual beliefs. The sacred practice was forbidden by Christian missionaries a century ago.

Now a movement is happening in indigenous culture from Alaska to Nunavut that's bringing back the practice of traditional tattoos.

A Yellowknife resident, who got Inuit tattoos done on her own face eight years ago, Hovak Johnston wrote proposals and got the funding she needed to hold a five-day event that included a contemporary tattoo artist from Yellowknife and a traditional tattoo artist from Alaska.

"I knew it was going to be really special but I didn't realize how the women really needed this and how much they're really craving to bring this back."

Niptanatiak was the first woman of the group tattooed by Inupiat traditional tattoo artist Marjorie Tahbone.

Tahbone grew up in Nome, Alaska, living a traditional lifestyle of subsistence hunting and gathering.

She was asked if she wanted to learn how to tattoo using the traditional hand-poke and skin-stitching methods by a Filipino-born tattoo artist who wanted to pass it on. She didn't hesitate to take the opportunity. "It's been asleep for so long, a hundred years, and so having it re-awoken and coming back into our lives is so important and vital," she said.

Responses to "Alaska Native woman is reviving the art of traditional chin tattooing and dancing."

Write a comment