For Native American men long hair is an indication of wisdom and strength.  For African American men it is a symbol of ethnic pride and non-conformity to the mainstream. But for both in the 21st century it is a symbol of confidence in oneself.  

For Native American women hair in some tribal affiliations was an indication of marital status based on whether the hair was worn long and flowing or in braids. Common braiding styles included one large braid down the back of the head and back, or two braids separated by a part in the center of the head. For African American women hair has always been styled in a variety of ways. Straight, curled, braided, natural, and the list goes on and on.  All of these styles demonstrated the importance and flexibility and freedom African American women demonstrate in their personal styles.  

But for all the concern about hair, both Native American and African Americans it is not what is on the head (i.e. Hair), but what is in the head –knowledge and pride in ones ethnicity and culture.  

Article by CherokeeCloud

Written September 19, 2006

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