The fire to revive Indigenous tattooing traditions has been ignited in North America. Tattooing was practiced by Indigenous nations across Turtle Island and has been near obliterated through processes of colonization and assimilation. As a form of personal and cultural Identity Indigenous tattoos connects the individual not only with a sense of self, but also with their community and culture. It has been inspiring to witness the rise of Indigenous tattoo artists and tattoo wearers on Turtle Island in recent years.
Many people have started tattooing without any training in the health aspects of tattooing which puts entire communities at risk. The most fundamental lesson I have learned from our elders, stories, and spiritual teachings is the lesson of being a loving, caring being that builds others up. These principles of loving and caring are the key to the revival of Indigenous tattooing. The work of tattoo revival is about building up individuals, communities and nations. If one does not have the knowledge to protect one’s nation and community from blood-borne pathogens like hepatitis, HIV and infections like MRSA then one could potentially be doing more harm than good. We need to build our people up, not tear them down by spreading harmful pathogens. This is the most traditional value that underpins the revival of our ancestral, traditional tattooing practices.
I have been a professional tattoo artist for 9 years and have been working on reviving Indigenous tattooing since 2012. Jordan, Amy, and I decided to run the first Earthline Tattoo School last summer. I trained and mentored 4 Indigenous cultural tattoo practitioners in traditional hand-poke and skin-stitch tattoo. This July 2017 we will mentor 6 more Indigenous cultural tattoo practitioners. Emphasis will be placed on health and safety with trainees being certified in blood-borne pathogens, as well as mentored in design, tattoo techniques, and research into each individuals cultural-ancestral tattooing practices.
Through your support Indigenous communities across Canada will be transformed as each participant leaves Tattoo School to help heal and lift up their communities with their new skills.
Earthline Tattoo Collective is volunteer run by three people - Jordan Bennett, Amy Malbeuf, and I.
Any donation big or small will make a difference.
We are grateful for your generous support.
kʷukʷsteyp (Thank you)
Dion Kaszas on behalf of Earthline Tattoo Collective
For more information about last years tattoo school please visit: Indigenous Tattooing Blog
We are raising funds for:
- Travel for 3 instructors, 6 participants, and 3 guest mentors, and 1 International guest mentor, to travel from their various communities across Canada to Kelowna, British Columbia.
- One month accommodation for instructors, participants, and mentors at UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna British Columbia
- Per-diem/food for Instructors, participants, and mentors.
- Tattooing supplies for each participant
- Elder honorarium. We will be inviting an elder to share with us and welcome us onto the Syilx (Okanagan) territory and will be providing them with an honorarium for their time.
-Participant honorarium to help offset the costs associated with taking a whole month off work to participate in this opportunity.
-Mentor honorarium - guest mentors will share their skills, knowledge, and time for 1 -2 weeks
-3 day backpacking trip into the Stein River Valley to understand the connections between our land, water, and visual culture such as pictographs and tattooing.