Updated: Jul 26, 2022
Inuit birthing tattoos have only recently returned. I’ve been on the journey for almost two years and it’s the most intimate journey but from within. These lines tell a thousand times a thousand stories of women with the depth and responsibility to advance our people forward.
When they vanished from the flesh, the void was filled with the destruction of Inuit womanhood. The language that came from a woman’s mouth was silenced. The beauty in her voice behind the drums went to hide. The functional pain in her body received in stitches stumbled into dysfunction.
I can see the trauma as if it were water, trickling down my maternal lineage. I’ve read words from my great-grandmother, amauga. Listened to aanaga, my grandmother. But it was easier to caress and comfort their trauma, much easier than forgiving aakaga, my direct connection.
I’ve learned that this is normal within our women. Something only a mother and daughter can sense. Something only a new generation can heal. I used to be terrified of my maternal history. I didn’t want to give us a future.
But, I came to a point in my life where I had to save myself. I saw the darkest days of my life and realized I can’t hide behind dysfunctional pain anymore. I carried a lot of hard truth and I kissed a lot of grief only to find unconditional love. A love for something bigger than me.
I thought this healing process of receiving my birthing tattoos would happen over night. But, I learned from our people, my mothers, that the evolution of strength comes from patience. Unlike my finger tattoos that exist for everyone, I am the only one who has to sit with my story lines on my thighs.
So, this is for the Inuit women reading this on their own. I see you. Your great-grandmother can see you, too. You deserve to sit with the depth of where you come from. You deserve your mother’s love. She deserves your healing touch. Be patient. Be kind.