Did Native Americans lock their hair?
You didn't think dreadlocks were specific to Rastafarians and black culture, did you? In some Native American tribes, notably the Cree and Mohave, the men often wore twisted and matted locks, frequently hanging below their waistline.
Many historians believe that India can be credited for the religious origins of dreadlocks. In fact, the Hindu Holy Scriptures, The Vedas, which was written in Indian between 1500 and 1000 BCE, provides the first written historical evidence of dreadlocks.
Beginning in the 1870s, federal officials in Canada and the U.S. removed Native children into off-reservation boarding schools, where they were forced to give up their languages, clothing and long hair. Even today, some public school systems, prisons and some workplaces still require Native Americans to cut their hair.
Our hair is considered sacred and significant to who we are as an individual, family, and community. In many tribes, it is believed that a person's long hair represents a strong cultural identity. This strong cultural identity promotes self-esteem, self-respect, a sense of belonging, and a healthy sense of pride.
The first people to wear dreads were probably cavemen. We researched the first evidence of the use of dreadlocks: The first piece of written evidence dates back to 1500BC; it is brought to us by the ancient holy Hindu texts called the “Vedas”.
Cut hair is never thrown away by Native Americans – this is considered to be disrespectful. Instead, it is treated with the respect it deserves: ceremonially burned with sage or sweetgrass, releasing the hopes, prayers, thoughts, and dreams of the owner to the Creator.
Historians and anthropologists have found evidence of the 'do in ancient Egypt, Germanic tribes, Vikings, Pacific Islanders, early Christians, the Aborigines and the New Guineans as well as the Somali, the Galla, the Maasai, the Ashanti and the Fulani tribes of Africa.
Ancient Egypt is the true birthplace of dreadlocks. Some ancient Egyptian mummies were found to have had dreadlock wigs from 1400 BCE. These mummies are solid evidence that dreadlocks originated in ancient Egypt based on the timeline of other historical events.
In ancient Greece for example, some of the earliest depictions of dreads date back to 3600 BC. Indeed, frescoes uncovered in Crete, birthplace of the Minoan civilization, and in Thera (modern-day Santorini) show individuals with long braided hairstyles.
“Cornrows” or tight braids close to the scalp are not just a traditional North African hairstyle. Native Americans, Greeks, Romans and Celtic (Irish) art have depicted people in cornrows as long as 1,000 years ago.
Where did lock of hair originate?
The earliest archaeological evidence of locks is found in the mummified remains of Ancient Egyptians as well as from the pre-Colombian Incan civilisation in Peru.
: a long tuft of hair on the crown of the otherwise shaved head especially of a warrior of some American Indian tribes.
In Victorian times, it was common for bereaved family members to keep locks of hair from deceased children or family members. These locks of hair were seen as mementos and served to comfort the surviving loved ones.