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why do native americans have long hair

Question: Why do Indians have long hair? Excerpt: For most Indians, hair was only cut under certain circumstances Many Dine, or Navajo, cut childrens hair on their first birthday and then do not cut it again Among some tribes, hair was cut as part of tribal mourning customsYou can imagine how it must have felt for many native children to have their hair cut against their will upon entrance into U. S. government-run boarding schools (see page 138). What is it about long hair that lends itself to be thought of as something uniquely Native American? Even in my own experience I attempted to grow my hair long to be more Indian. It didnt work. My hair is thick and wavy. Not only does it grow in length, but in width. So much for that long black braid I was dreaming of! For many of us, there is meaning in wearing our hair long. That meaning can be found in tradition, spirituality, identity, personality, and/or individuality. We all have a relationship with our hair; it doesnt matter whether you are Native or not. Our hair is a part of who we are even if we dont stop to think about it. On a deeper level, perhaps we do lose a part of ourselves when we cut our hair. It may be that we lose a special relationship with ourselves. Certainly, the above excerpt from the book by
highlights the significance between hair and loss. Considering the connection between all things, the physical cutting of hair is a manifestation of the loss of a loved one, a loss of a relationship, and a loss of a part of self.

There may not be a simple answer to the question, Why do Indians have long hair? But, as with any culture, there are specific traditions that carry a meaning that is deeply important to that particular culture. In addition, what defines hair as being long I would argue that definition is established through personal and cultural understanding of the lives we live. So who is to say what is long, but perhaps that is getting away from the point. Similarly, to ask Why do Indians have long hair? ignores the diversity among Native Americans. The question assumes all Native people have traditionally worn their hair long. It seems that this question is less based in culture, tradition, and spirituality and instead originates from a perspective generated by portrayal of Indians in the popular culture. Finally, the real distinction as to why the question is asked, even though both Natives and non-Natives wear their hair long, is the history of the United States. Think about Kill the Indian, Save the man. How many countless Natives have had their culture away taken by the US governments boarding school system? Forced haircuts were a part of an intentional process of stripping away culture.

Freedom allowed non-Natives to wear their hair long, but took it away from the Native Americans. Today, Indians are free to wear their hair however they want, but how do the scars from the past prevent Indian people from wearing their hair long today? Credits: Treuer, Anton (2012-05-01). , published by Borealis Books. Photo Credit : Weve all heard the story of Sampson and Delilah. In it, one of Gods great servants, Sampson was a man possessed of superhuman strength. He was eventually betrayed by the love of his life, Delilah, who figured out that he could be defeated by cutting off all of his hair. In relation, the Native American tradition has long held that hair is an outward projection of the nervous system, acting much in the way of human antennae. Our hair is responsible for transmitting pertinent information to the rest of the nervous system. According to this line of thinking, our hair also transmits an energy from the brain to the our environment. has shown the difference in energy fields between those with long and short hair. There is actually a from the Vietnam War that related to this phenomenon regarding Native American code talkers. It would appear that during this conflict, special envoys of the war department were sent to Native American reservations in search of tough, young, talented scouts who were adept at moving through and sniffing out especially rough terrain.

Men with a reputation of having seemingly supernatural tracking abilities were held at a premium for recruitment. Once the men were convinced to enlist, however, all prior evidence of scouting and tracking skill seemed to disappear completely. New recruit after new recruit consistently failed to perform as anticipated, and mass failures and casualties caused the U. S. armed forces to conduct a study to get to the bottom of the issue. The new recruit would be instructed to commence an overnight training operation. When they fell asleep, an armed enemy would attempt to sneak up on him. The man would be awakened by a strong fight or flight response long before the supposed attacker was even close, even before the enemy was close enough that his movements could be heard. The new recruit would often follow some sort of sixth sense and pretend to sleep rather than flee. When the attacker was close enough, the recruit would grab and overcome him. However, after basic training, the same man would consistently fail the tests he passed before with flying colors. When the privates were asked about why they would fail to perform as before, they would consistently answer that their required military haircuts left them unable to harness the sixth sense that was previously very natural to harness.

They could no longer sense an enemy approach, and felt as if their natural intuition was no longer reliable. After this was uncovered, further tests involving privates who were allowed to keep their hair against those who had received the required military haircut commenced. As you might guess, those Native privates who were allowed to keep their hair performed exactly up to the standards that they had performed prior to recruitment. As a result, this leaked document recommended that Native American recruits be allowed to keep their long hair. Over millions of years of evolution, mammals have adapted to their surroundings. Survival under the harshest of circumstances can be viewed as somewhat supernatural in the right context. What we know is that each body part is interlinked into a beautiful whole that works as a complete system. The modification of even a seemingly small aspect of this system can interrupt the entire process. If the hair is cut, the emitting and receiving of energetic transmissions is dampened. In Native thought, the cutting of the hair is a contributing factor in environmental degradation, problems in relationships and even sexual frustrations. When we search for solutions to our problems in the world, we often look outwardly at what is being done to nature. But perhaps we should look into the mirror as well.

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