Back in the day, everyone, our ancestors, our predecessors had long hair. Today, I see my generation moving into this western world of “professionalism” and cutting off all their hair. I assume they are in mourning and come to find that they did it because they are “professional.” In our way, cutting of the hair meant mourning a lost loved one who has left to the spirit world. Though not all Indigenous had this tradition.
Many have cut their hair to mourn our people who were massacred. So I ask myself, why have many of these educated, smart, and professional Indians cut their hair indefinitely without reason? They talk about indigenization and cut their hair off as they walk the halls and courts of the conqueror in the name of professionalism, they did the very thing the Wasicu wanted. What better way to challenge the empire adorned in the hair of our ancestors.
We don’t have to cut our hair anymore, it is no longer outlawed. It does not mean they will not still try to kill us for having long hair because they will. Blehic’iya Po: Take courage! The ceremony of cutting hair is sacred, but why are many of my generation cutting their hair for the sake of western professionalism and disinterest and talking about indigenization when they don’t even want to grow their hair.
Others including myself will someday have to carry out the ceremony of the cutting of hair, and it will be the hardest thing I will ever have to do in my life. Look across the world my peers and you will see indigenous peoples with long hair. I pray my generation stops cutting their hair when they don’t have to, reconnect with who they really are. I am not trying to shame anyone, I’m just getting worried that we are cutting ourselves off from a future our ancestors envisioned.
Our enemies did everything they could to outlaw our long hair. We must grow our hair, professionalism is the most superficial reason in the world to be cutting our hair especially when our ancestors gave their lives so that we might have this right to do so. I pray my generation takes up the mantle and challenges the enemy garnered and wearing the values of their ancestors, and to be proud of it, be proud of who we are.
Sometimes I feel misplaced in this era, and hope I and others will not be alone in this. I hope that the long hair will not be a thing of the past but an important tradition for that greater future. I fear my generation will not listen. It seems they listen more to the ethnocidal expectations of the Wasicu. I hope others will begin to encourage all of our generation to grow their hair, be proud of who you are.
By Wakíŋyaŋ Skye LaPointe