Before the Bible was written, hair was seen as a sign of faith, truth, and a better mind.
Native American Indians were known for their bronze skin and long, thick, straight, shiny, black hair. They were brave warriors who lived in and with nature and honoured it. They were honest, innocent, and not used to the sneaky ways of the white people from the old continent. Because of this, they were almost wiped off the face of the earth.
European immigrants have said that American Indians are barbarians. As soon as they found out that a new land was full of wealth, they began to kill the Indians in a planned way. By the end of the 19th century, between 12 and 15 million Indians had been killed or died from disease. Smallpox was the disease that killed the most people. At the time of Columbus, it is thought that so many Indians lived on the land that is now the United States.
After many Indians were killed, they were shamefully put on small, poor grounds. People have lived on this continent since the Stone Age. They have been free as birds and have created their own religion, rituals, and customs. All of a sudden, they were put on small reservations, denied their rights, and laughed at. But that wasn’t enough either. Indian children were taken away from their parents and sent to boarding schools, where they were forced to take Christian names, learn a new language and forget their native language, forget their customs and culture, stop wearing Indian clothes and start wearing Western clothes, and even worse, they were forced to cut their hair. Indian men had to cut their hair even though it was against their religion. The American government, public schools, and jails did this.
Long hair is a sign of a strong spirit to Native Americans. They think that a person’s spirit is stronger if their hair is longer. Not just anybody can touch their hair. Men in some groups used to only cut their hair when a close relative died. This was a sign that the death of a loved one had broken their spirits. In the past, when people cut their hair, they had to do something special with it. They put their cut hair in a river. Since they are part of the ground, they always return to where they came from.
Native American men and boys are not allowed to wear their long hair to school or work in some places in the U.S. because it is against the dress code.