Cut Your Hair – or Else

It was 1902.  The government was unhappy that Indians were acting like, well, Indians, with their own customs and ways of life.  The government wanted to make the Indians white, or what they called “civilized,” so they would stop causing trouble with all of those “unacceptable ways.”

So on January 11, 1902, the Department of the Interior, Department of Indian Affairs, issued a letter instructing that Native people should cut their hair (males), stop painting themselves, start wearing white people’s clothes, stop wearing Indian clothes and blankets, and stop having dances and feasts.

If they didn’t, it was suggested that those who didn’t comply should have their rations withheld.

To read more about this edict, click here.

1902 hair cut letter

1902 hair cut letter 2

1902 hair cut letter 3

Hat tip to Chris for this letter.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Bureau of Indian Affairs, History. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cut Your Hair – or Else

  1. So, eliminate your culture – or else.

  2. Pingback: Cut Your Hair – or Else - 500 NATIONS | 500 NATIONS

  3. Revis says:

    My family had a trunk full of native clothing that belonged to family members. Someone in the family (after 1900 or so) threw it all away so no one would know they were Native Americans. I wanted to cry the first time I was told that story. My mother’s grandmother grew up at Tishimingo, IT, OK. – Revis

  4. Pingback: Thanksgiving Conundrum | Native Heritage Project

  5. Pingback: Thanksgiving Conundrum | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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