Religious/cultural reasons for growing hair

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Posted by luke (other posts) on February 19, 2014 at 05:13:00:

Some time before I joined this site, someone asked about religious reasons for growing hair:

Well, for those of us with Native American blood there are some interesting traditions concerning hair. The Lakota, for instance, traditionally cut their hair when they want to forget something. When invaders forcibly took Lakota children to boarding schools, one of the most traumatic things they did was forced hair cutting.

This was not common to all tribes:

In the Chippewa (I have Chippewa ancestry), men sometimes shaved their hair into "Mohawk" style in time of war, otherwise everyone wore their hair long and in braids. In wartime short hair has two advantages: less likely to hang up in your bowstring, not vulnerable to being grabbed by an enemy. Some men cut their hair, some did not.

Some East Coast tribes cut men's hair only on the right (the bowstring side for a right-handed warrior).

Today I wear long hair, I first grew it out during the early 1990's when I played in a band but have kept it ever since. My study since then of my own Indigenous roots has made me even more determined to keep it. I do have to trim the last inch or so at intervals to keep down tangles as I have curly hair with my highly diverse ancestry. I would regard cutting it off outright other than for war as an insult to my Chippewa ancestors, however.

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