Even just a decade ago, face markings and other traditional Inuit tattoos were not often seen on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska. As a traditional Inuit tattoo artist, whose work is more than aesthetic but also encompasses tradition, culture, healing arts, etc., Nordlum believes there should be exceptions made to the licensing process for Alaska Native tattooists and disagrees that her work should fall under the categories the State has placed it in.

For some nations, the designs and motifs, are inherited and accompany names which stretch back to an original ancestor and each time the name is given and its accompanying tattoo applied it is a reincarnation of the original ancestor. We barely have a seat at the table anyway. The dashes on Pedersen's arms and fingers symbolize big game she's hunted, dots are her friends and the triangles symbolize the mountains of Baffin Island where she was born and raised. They’re willing to talk about changing the law in the future. We are being looked down upon as people they can manage.

The letter V on the forehead means entering womanhood. Tattoo cultural appropriation. And for Nordlum, along with the growing number of practicing Inuit tattooists going through Tupik Mi apprenticeships, it is about so much more than just the tattoo. "Now there are hundreds of women all over Canada that are wearing them.

A mask found on the remote arctic Devon Island dates back 3500 years and shows facial tattoos similar to those on natives in modern-day Nunavut. However, tattoos were an integral part of an Inuit woman’s identity. It’s an international issue… The Republican State of Alaska should have absolutely no say in what Inuit women are doing,” she says. “Just because the Arctic is a hot topic, and there’s money being thrown into the Arctic, I don’t think anybody should be welcome. Talking with Inuit women all the time we all have such similar stories of sexual abuse, of growing up in alcoholic families, growing up in the village, trying to be safe when it’s an unsafe situation. The McGill Daily is located on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory.

When DeVos and the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project arrived in her hometown of Cambridge Bay, her mom didn't like the Vs tattooed on young women's foreheads.

The raw emotional impact of the short films cannot be understated, as each addressed, in a unique manner, the horrific realities faced by Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

A man wore loose amulets in his clothing and on his hunting gear. I don’t want to do that.

Johnston's friend, photographer Cora DeVos, comes along to photograph the women.

If this is not possible, commission an Indigenous artist who has rights, relationship, and responsibility to those designs and motifs and have them design a work they feel is appropriate for you to have tattooed by whomever you choose. While Nordlum will tattoo non-Native people, there are certain Inuit designs she will not tattoo on them to protect this art form from cultural appropriation.

And Nordlum sees licensing regulations imposed on her by the State of Alaska as a frustrating illustration of enduring barriers to Indigenous self-determination. She totally shut down her stuff, and the gallery has even offered to do a show or something in recognition of our Inuit culture.”.

We’re a bunch of women. “We all know each other,” says Nordlum. In the mid-20th century, French ethnographer Bernard Saladin d’Anglure traveled to Nunavut in Arctic Canada to interview Atuat Ittukusuk, the last tattooed woman in her Igloolik village.

We are so many tribes and subtribes and each has their way of putting the patterns together. Qaqqaq, 25, was elected October 22.

And it’s always after the fact; it’s never in the beginning… It’s frustrating.”.

Even though there are these crazy things going on, I also think that this is the best time; we can have the biggest and loudest voice.

“It would be inappropriate for me to give further in-depth explanations concerning the sacred aspects at this time, far too often the generosity of Indigenous peoples to share intimate, sacred aspects of our cultures and ancestral practices have resulted in the appropriation and misappropriation of that knowledge for the gratification and financial gain of those who wish to use things that they do not have rights, relationship or responsibility to.”, Cultural appropriation is certainly not a new concept, nor is it something that will very soon see its end.

I don’t want to tattoo something that I essentially know nothing about. For the past five years, she’s worked as a traditional tattoo artist in Anchorage, joining a league of Native women across the circumpolar Arctic working to revive the practice and redefine what it means today. I have searched online but I cannot seem to find anything in regards to that specific tattoo. And we are such a small population in the world. So for the longest time I’ve wanted to have some sort of vertical modification on my bottom lip right in the middle, wether it be a line tattoo or a piercing. But the theft of Indigenous cultures and aesthetics for non-Indigenous profit and consumption is but one aspect of the pervasive colonial legacies which still plague Inuit communities across the Arctic.

Maya was kind enough to give a brief overview of some important aspects of this practice. But we’re working right now. The resurgence of Inuit ink within Native communities has also generated interest among Western enthusiasts.

Profited and did an art show about it.

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