Your hair is your nervous system’s appendix: Why Native Americans grow their hair LONG
The first thing that comes to your mind when hearing about hair is probably your favourite hair salon, future hairstyle or a specific hair product. But few of us stop to think why ancient and aboriginal societies grow their hair long.
C.Young on Scott describes hair as being “an extension of the nervous system it can be accurately resumed as being a system of exteriorized nerves, a type of highly developed human ‘feelers’ or ‘antennae’ that are capable of transmitting enormous amounts of important data to the brain stem, the limbic system, and the neocortex.”
Many aboriginal people on the planet believe that long hair symbolizes a unique and special burden. And even though these many cultures have developed thousands of kilometres apart, they share many common beliefs.
It’s fascinating that many of these cultures are unanimous in their notions of hair being an extension of he soul. Evidence of this are many Native American traditions that they maintain even to this day.
One such example can be found with the Navajo people, which only cut their children’s hair on their first birthday, and refrain from cutting it later in life.
For most of us, hair is just a matter of style: it can make you look cool, younger and even older, in many different lengths, shapes and colours.
But the Native Americans have always had a different conception of the meaning of hair. To them it wasn’t a matter of style and trends at all; it was a thing that went beyond the comprehension of many of us, even today.
In many cultures it is not only considered an extension of the soul, but also a symbol of physical strength and virility.
Some of them maintain that a man loses a small part of his unique relationship with himself when cutting his hair.
To many Native Americans, braided hair symbolized a union with the infinite, and letting your hair down meant living on the free course of life.
During the Vietnam War, the American military looked to recruit scouts and trackers. They required young, talented men that could navigate discretely across their enemy’s terrain, without being spotted. It was a particularly important profile they were looking for, which is why the Special Forces appointed undercover specialists to search for such candidates in American Indian Reservations. Here they found countless brave young men who were born to this task.
After being recruited, their skills were carefully recorded, and it was found that they were a perfect fit for the task. But after going through the rituals of military training, their special gift seemed to vanish.
Baffled by the circumstances, the army began looking for answers and sought the help of some Native American elders who taught them that the reason behind this is the mandatory military haircut that the young recruits received, so they could no longer sense as they did before.
Their almost supernatural abilities- like their ‘otherworldly’ intuition- disappeared.
After this the army recruited more Native Americans from different tribes to test what was happening, and whether it had anything to do with cutting their long hair.
Some of the recruits got to keep their long hair, while others received a haircut. After some testing, the Native American trackers with long hair performed much better than those who had their hairs cut. Military experts discovered that those with long hair had something akin to a ’sixth sense’, an intuition that was much more reliable than their short-haired counterparts’.
If you want to learn more about Native American’s beliefs, watch the video below: