Ed’s note: This post was written by Contributing Editor, Kate Derrick.
For Native Americans long hair signifies great or strong spirit, and knowledge. The hair is considered an extension of one’s thoughts. Traditionally Native Americans would cut their hair only at times of mourning, a way of honouring their spirituality. Cutting hair at a time of mourning could signify that one’s spirit had been reduced by the death of the loved one, but in time the hair would grow long again as the spirit would be rejuvenated.
Different hairstyles also have varying significance. For example, braids symbolise oneness. You can read more about the significance of long hair and hairstyles in this beautiful piece.
Since my teenage years I have struggled to grow my hair long. It gets just past shoulder length, I get annoyed by it, cut it short, and the process of trying to grow it long starts all over again. However, this beautiful link the Native Americans have between hair and spirituality gives me a whole new appreciation for long hair.
Note: The Native Americans like the Australian Aboriginal people are a diverse group of different tribes and peoples. Traditions vary across the country.