Native American tattoos: Identity and spirituality in contemporary America

Maureen Trudelle Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Influences from counterculture movements and tattooing traditions from around the world have transformed the North American tattoo experience. Consultants' narratives reveal a desire to align with a primal human essence, seen as somehow lost through the process of civilization. Images are intentionally chosen to seek connection with people considered to embody a simpler, truer form of human life; what scholars routinely refer to as the “primitive,” or the Other. In the cases under consideration, an effort is made to connect to a particular so-called primitive, that is, the American Indian. Thus, the current renaissance of tattoo as fine art provides an occasion to reconsider American fascination with “playing Indian” and all things Indian.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-254
Number of pages32
JournalVisual Anthropology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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