July 31, 2009

Do Indians grow beards?

Dare to Ask:  Do Native Americans have facial and body hair?

By Phillip MilanoDo American Indian males grow beards?

Montie, 65, white, Grinnell, Iowa
Readers wrote in with answers from "No, genetics won't allow it" to "Some do, some don't" to "Yes, they do have facial and body hair but very little." Finally, an expert weighs in:Concerning hair, American Indian anthropologist Julianne Jennings of Eastern Connecticut State University says natives grew hair on their heads to varying degrees, depending on the tribe. As far as facial hair, while they could grow it, they often chose not to.

"It's a stereotype that they can't grow it," said Jennings, a Cheroenhaka Nottoway who co-authored "A Cultural History of the Native People of Southern New England."

"For example, my father grew hair, just a different kind. It was very sparse, not thick. They didn't care for it on the face, and being compared to Europeans."
Below:  John Trudell with facial hair.

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