Iakowi:he'ne' Featured in the June Issue of ALLURE Magazine

"Oakes is 38-year-old designer, activist, and high school volleyball and swim coach who wears her hair down to her waist as a means of connecting with the Mohawk tribe in which she was raised. Oakes grew up on the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory on the border of New York State and Canada and now lives in New York City.

My hair is a way for me to identify myself. People say, “Oh, what are you, Indian?” It’s a cliché. “Oh, you have long hair?” It’s like, yeah! I’m Mohawk. I’m not Indian; I’m not from India. I’m indigenous. A lot of our culture has been stripped away from us in the recent past. My hair is a way of me being proud of who I am.

Long hair is our tradition, our way of life. It’s beautiful. It adds strength to our spirit. A large part of our existence is resistance; the fact that we’re still even here means that we survived a lot. We’re not supposed to be here. For many years, Canada’s Indian Residential School system basically tried to strip native children of their identity and culture. The first thing they did in these residential schools is they chopped the kids’ hair off, and then they would burn it in front of them."

 Read more at Allure.com (Full Write in the Magazine)

Get your copy of the June 2018 issue of Allure Magazine today!!!

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