General > Research Needed

"Tribal Tatooing"?

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I know i am alwayssaying is a great site for researching mixed bloods from Virginia and orth arolina and neighboring states.

But every so often someone comesalong and says something totally "strange" there and I think it is my duty as someone who lkes that site and wants to uphold its  mage as being a REAL search for REAL history and ways that ar simply lost.

Resently someone brotght up the topic of "Indian Tattoos". Well I have never thought of this topic at all. So I id a research and found the following research and found the website listed below.

Is there such a thing as "American Indian Tattoos"?

It looks authentic but i am not sold on it yet. Ihave been burned too many times to just accept what is said, but as I said, it sure looks valid. I know, that and a dollar bill wll get me a cup of coffee . . .


I didn't mean to say in one of my previous posts that was a bad site. There is a lot of good info there but like so much it has mainly been gleaned from books.

Living in a community that is mainly Lumbee and Saponi I hear much of thier oral teachings and history which at times don't make sense to me. Sometimes the Saponi say they were Lumbee, then they say they are not. Then the Lumbee will sometimes say they are Cherokee-Cheraw and then they are not. Then they are all the lost descendants of the lost settlers of Roanoke and Indians. Then they are mixed with black slaves and Cherokees.

If you believe what white academia says about us and that we all came from Asia then there are big problems with the Souian language theory (The expanse of time it takes for a completely new language to form from a parent language is a long time). And if this theory is wrong (which I feel it is) then all else is wrong. I have not met a Saponi that can speak thier language because they do not have one. Same with  the Lumbee.

I will openly admit that I do have a bias here. Here in Baltimore and NC most Indian people know that Cherokee and Lumbee (and Saponi, etc) do not get along for a variety of reasons. So it might be smart for me not to comment on this topic anymore.

As for the tattoos, I can't find the nafps post that brought up the topic. I was talking in another group about this though. I thought the site you listed with the warnings, etc was a good site becasue of its warnings.

Traditional designs won't be found on these sites except in historical drawings or I hope not. Cherokee tattooing was done for various reasons of which I hope would not be discussed at any site. Some traditions should be left alone. What was not mentioned is scarification as a form of body art.

A little antecdote; a friend of mine wanted to get a Cherokee water spider tattoo (not a traditional design from the old days and ways). He went to a tattoo place in Cherokee and the artist there (who was also Cherokee) never heard of the design of the water spider or of the water spider. My friend thought this odd since water spider has a major part in one of our stories about getting fire. My friend went over to the museum gift store that has the water spider design of the bags and brought it back to this artist. I guess the point of the story is that even if someone is an Indian and does taattoos does not mean they know traditional or non-traditional Indian designs.


Vance, I mentioned in another post about the people I knew from Sault St Marie who got traditional tattoos with special meaning for their people. Thankfully I haven't seen any sign of Nuagers appropriating that yet.

One of my best friends is a tattoo artist. He did all of mine. None of my five tattoos is traditional work, simply because as far as I know it never was an Apache practice. I gave him that same link since he had questions. People are always coming to him wanting "a cool Native tat" or something "tribal." He can't stand "tribal" tattoos, which he tells me were first made popular by a white guy from the Netherlands, who did them for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Most of these designs are just meaningless swirls, they don't have the significance that Maoris and Hawaiians give them.

I know that some people such as the Caddo did do facial tats, simple geometric designs of dots and stripes. Hopefully no Nuagers or others will try to imitate that.

There was a guy who was on Ripley;'s Believe It or Not we discussed a few years ago. A really sad and bizarre case, he claimed he had Lakota in him and was the leader of his own "band." The guy claimed his "power animal" was the tiger and he was using plastic and dental surgery and tattooing to make himself look like one. He had his ears altered, fangs put in his mouth and some kind of artificial talons on his fingertips, and the coloring of a tiger put on his face.


Above is where it was discussed.

Thanks Joseph and Al. I am a minor moderator at the site (their historical research section) and I try not to let made up stuff slip by without cautioning people about it. Many pepople who think they are Cherokee are really not, and so this goes along well with the Chickamauga research. I thought people searching for a Cherokee ancestor East of the Appalachians should really be looking at groups such as Saponi or others.

I don't catch everything "odd" people might say there, but I try to. And this "tattoo" comment, especially when the person mentioned something about "holy Cherokee women have tattotts" -- well that just bothered me . . . here I am saying that is a good website and then comments like that pop up . . .

Joseph, I never heard of Cherokee tattooing or I assumed if it ever existed, it was lost long ago. I could be dead wrong, tho. :)

And about being "gleaned from books", Joseph -- that's the ony place you will find anthing about the Saponi -- nothing else of the culture exists. There were some Tutelo who went Norht to live with the Six Nations, and they were the same people and spoke the same language  as the Saponi. The last Tutelo speaker died maybe 50 years ago (I forget the exact years) in the Six Nations and this is well documented -- someone at "gleaned it" from some book somewhere. So the Saponi language is a dead language.

And Joseph, I'd consider any material NOT gleaned from books as questionable, except maybe if it came from Six Nation sources where maybe a little of the culture might still live on.

Do you know some Saponi/Tutelo/Oconeechee/Eno (all eastern Siouian and probably very closely related) history material not gleaned from books? I'd love to know about it. thanks. I am studying their history.

One bunch I heard tried for state recognition in NC but failed to get it, and as far as I could tell they were pretty well documented.  

thanks again.



I promise not to use the word "glean" again LOL. I agree that much of what we have as knowledge comes from documented sources.

And yes, many people who think they are Cherokee might not be. I have had a few people approach me saying they were Cherokee. After asking their last names and getting responses like Locklear or Lowry I tell them that they might be Lumbee and to investigate that.

As far as I know, which I "gleaned" (sorry Vance I had to LOL) from pictures and drawings, Cherokee men use to tattoo. But more than the books, my Grandfather and Great Grandfather were tattooed sorta like in the old drawings but on their arms or that is all I saw. These were just patterns and they would (my Grandpa that is) would not tell me about them.

I am only half Cherokee, my Mom being full blood. I consider that since my Grandpa and his Dad to be source of that undocumented stuff or at least what looked to be traditional tattoos. My Grandpa was born in 1870 before the tattoo craze.

And agian, I meant no criticism of



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