Mohawk and Mahican Tattooing (Iroquois)

While searching the Canada Archives website I found these amazing paintings by John Verelst, the first painting is entitled. Sagayenkwaraton (baptized Brant). Named Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Tow, King of the Maquas (Mohawk)  It depicts a Mohawk King with an amazing example of the rich history of Tattooing in North America among its Indigenous peoples. Verelst has painted tattoos on the arms, chest and face of Sagayenkwaraton

Indian Face, Chest, and Arm Tattoos

The second painting found by Verelst is entitles Etowaucum (baptized Nicholas). Named Etow Oh Koam, King of the River Nation  It shows facial tattooing. After finding these in the Library and Archive of Canada I looked back at an Article by Lark Krutak entitled North America’s Tattooed Indian Kings In it he shares the story of these paintings, they were produced when the four Indian Kings visited England and treated as royalty. It was a diplomatic mission in which these four Indigenous leaders shared their concerns with Queen Anne. From this article i was able to get a blown up version of this painting that highlights this Indian Kings Tattoos.

Canadian Aboriginal Facial Tattoos
Close up of Etowaucum’s Face Tattoo

Lar’s article brings up an interesting point when he refers to the signing of a document on August 3rd, 1706 by a young Seneca named Tan Na Eedsies with a pictograph resembling his tattoos, thus identifying himself as his tattoos. A interesting example similar to account concerning the Maori and their Facial Moko.

Of the four Indian Kings only three were tattooed the finaly painting by Verelst is enttiled,  Onigoheriago (baptized John). Named Ho Nee Yeath Taw No Row, King of the Generethgarich This one is hard to see but again I will share from lars Krutak’s website a reconstruction of this Indigenous leaders facial tattoos.

 

Tatooed Indian Kings

 

Reconstruction of Onigoheriago’s Face Tattoo

These four paintings not only depict the beautiful tattooing that was practiced by Indigenous, Mohawk and Mahican in the 1700’s but it also speaks to the issue of land claims and the way in which Indigenous nations were considered as spereate and distinct nations.  These paintings are a powerful testament of the rights of Indigenous nations to operate as sperate and Independent nations. I believe it is time for Indigenous people to rise up reclaim their visual culture in the form of their tattoos and also reclaim their lands, and nations.

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