Inuit Tattoos in Greenland Today: A Marker of Cultural Identity


  • Tukummeq Jensen Hansen



Greenland, tattoo, Inuit, identity


For years, Greenland has been under Danish colonial rule, which has left the Indigenous People of Greenland with trauma that still haunts them today. The search for identity that has left many young Inuit angry and confused has been difficult to express. Many young Inuit have chosen to use traditional tattoos to heal and strengthen themselves, to show that they are Inuit, to show that they are Kalaallit (Greenlanders). This phenomenon has been seen in Indigenous communities around the world who have experienced similar colonial violence. This essay focusses mainly on the young Inuit from Nuuk, but also discusses the Inuit from Nunavut.

Les années de domination coloniale danoise au Groënland ont causés des traumatismes qui hantent encore aujourd’hui les peuples autochtones du Groenland. La recherche d’identité qui a laissé de nombreux jeunes Inuits confus et en colère a été difficile à exprimer. De nombreux jeunes Inuits ont choisis d’utiliser les tatouages traditionnels pour guérir et renforcer leur sens d'eux-mêmes, pour montrer qu’ils sont Inuits, pour montrer qu’ils sont Kalaallit (Groenlandais). Ce phénomène a été observés à travers le monde dans les communautés autochtones qui ont expérimenté une violence coloniale similaire. Cet essai se concentre principalement sur les jeunes Inuits de Nuuk, mais parle également des Inuits de Nunavu.

Author Biography

Tukummeq Jensen Hansen

Tukummeq J. Hansen is currently studying her Kultur-og Samfundshistorie MA in Ilisimatusarfik - University of Greenland. She was born and raised in Nuuk, Greenland, which is where the main research for the essay in question was conducted.




How to Cite

Jensen Hansen, T. (2022). Inuit Tattoos in Greenland Today: A Marker of Cultural Identity. Scandinavian-Canadian Studies, 29, 1–19.