This was only the first time we visited Gordon at his shop the second time was with the gracious organizer extraordinaire of Indigenous Ink Terry Klavenes a Tongan tattoo artists who is working at bringing the motifs and designs from his Tongan heritage into his tattoo work.
During our second visit we happened to be there during the raising of Gordon’s new sign outside of his shop, which warranted an impromptu celebration that included some of New Zealand seafood. One of these “delicacies” is Kina, which are sea urchin eggs, I tried them once and that will be the only time I put these in my mouth. After trying a few of the things offered I thoroughly enjoyed my order of fish and chips.
Check out Lars Krutak’s TED Talk, he does an amazing job outlining the importance of Indigenous tattoo knowledge and the need to document your nations tattooing practices. I am honoured to have been mentioned during this presentation and am thankful for the work that he has done and continues to do.
After much weeping and gnashing of teeth trying to get paperwork filled out and right, so as to have my trip next week approved I became a little obsessed with my archival research and almost didn’t stop staring into the computer monitor. I have updated the website and found many new examples of Inuit and Algonquian tattooing. I have not found any Nlaka’pamux tattoo examples but am enjoying bringing these resources forward to help other Indigenous peoples reclaim their traditional tattoos.
I previously posted an article about the story of Yaari Kingeekuk a Yupik artist who lives and works in Alaska as a cultural teacher and educator, and who is embodying her culture with traditional tattoos. I have gained her permission to post a few photos of her. Another Indigenous person in the process engaging the hegemonic ideal of beauty by tattooing the face. As I was looking over the pictures I have been able to acquire, both historical and contemporary of Indigenous people with facial tattoos I am struck by the beauty that is Indigenous facial tattooing. I know it doesn’t really fit into the mainstream conception of beauty, because it seems the face is the last holy place when it comes to contemporary tattooing. But if you get the chance look over the pictures and admire the beauty that is embodied in them.
As I was researching online the other day I found these amazing photos taken in 1937 by the Photographer Donald B. Marsh. They Were taken at Eskimo Point, N.W.T., [Arviat (formerly Eskimo Point), Nunavut] and I found them at the Canadian Library and Archive.
This is the article which brought me to the connection with the Inuit and Northern peoples, which brought me to find Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and her documentary. This article shows some Nlaka’ pamux facial tattoos, which are accounted in “Tattooing and Face and Body Painting of the Thompson Indians British Columbia” by James Teit.
The first time I seen this I was amazed and now even more so now that I am connected with it in such an intimate way. Watch as Colin tattoos a Nordic design with a needle and thread as my ancestors would have.
When I began this journey in my Indigenous historical Perspectives class, near the end of my research I came across the work and journey of Alethea Arnaquq-Baril who has created the documentary “Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos”. When I found out about her documentary and journey it was exciting to see others are beginning the same journey I am on. I can’t wait to see her documentary. Here is a short introduction to it I found on Youtube.