Dare to Ask: Do Native Americans have facial and body
By Phillip Milano
Do American Indian males grow beards?
Montie, 65, white, Grinnell, Iowa
This may seem a silly and ignorant question to those who are Native American
(American Indian), but do Native Americans have facial and body hair? Recently,
I met a man who said he was 100 percent Native American but who had heavy beard
stubble and very hairy arms.
Charles, 33, white, Nashville
The guy who told you that he was 100 percent Native American was a 100
Susan, 37, American Indian, Marysville, Wash.
No, genetics won't allow it, unless mixed with some other race. Ha ha, I've
tried for four years to grow a mustache by shaving my face. No such luck.
Terrence, 22, American Indian, Albuquerque, N.M.
Some do, some don't. And you may be interested to know that we are not in any
way related to Asian people. That idea comes from the ice-bridge story, which is
a lie. Asians have their beautiful culture(s), and we have ours.
Samson, Native American, Rapid City, S.D.
Yes, they do have facial and body hair but very little, and they tend to
pluck it from their faces as often as it grows.
G.J.J., Roseville, Calif.
My wife, who is Native American, says most Native Americans have fairly fine
and short body hair and usually very little facial hair. But of course it
John F., white, Los Alamos, N.M.
The Bering Strait theory, which contends that Siberian hunters trooped into
Alaska over a temporary Ice Age land bridge some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago -- a
Maybe it'd be better to say it's disputed. The first Americans could've come
by boat, some researchers say, and perhaps not from Asia, though pesky DNA
testing seems to point that way.
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.
She pointed out text from William Wood's "New England's Prospect," first
published in 1634, with an edited version by Alden T. Vaughan in 1977:
You cannot woo them to wear it on their chins, where it no sooner grows but
it is stubbed up by the roots, for they count it as an unuseful, cumbersome, and
opprobrious excrement, insomuch as they call him an Englishman's bastard that
hath but the appearance of a beard ...
"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
"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
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