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Haida Tattoo Meaning & Ideas

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The name “Haida” is a variation of the word “Hidery” which means “the people.” This is the tribal name that is among the most ancient documented populations in North America.

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Haida Tattoo 

Haida Tattoo Designs

Bold blacks and sharp, defined reds are a signature hallmark of these tattoos, which are based on the designs common to this North American “First Nations” tribe. All of these tattoos have a design crest and an animal that represents something important and meaningful about the wearer.

Traditional Haida Style Tattoo Ideas

Haida Human form Tattoo Haida circular Tattoo Haida Stack Tattoo

Just as with many other types of popular tribal tattoos, the meanings are separated quite a bit from their original native purpose and symbolic significance. However, unlike most tribal tattoos that are simply based on a design and color combination, it is easier to discern the meaning of this tattoo based on the fact that animals represent key human traits. For instance, the thunderbird is a popular choice for many who get this design. The meaning of this particular type is conveyed through the animal choice, which in the case represents a magical or mystical person (versus a great warrior).

 Tattoo Ideas

Haida Hawk Tattoo desigb Haida Hawk art Haida attacking Hawk

Other animals provide different meanings; as another example, the bear represents strength, power and fierceness whereas many sea birds represent peace and godliness. In this culture, each animal is imbued with a particular force, therefore the meaning of Haida tattoos is rooted in the symbolic importance of a given animal according to Haida lore. The meanings vary when they are drawn on the flesh of non-native people, often simply because they like the look—but for natives, the meaning is of great cultural significance.

Fish, Whale, Dolphin Tattoo Ideas

Haida Fish Tattoo Haida Dolphin Haida Shark Tattoo design
Haida Shark Tattoo meaning Haida Salmon Tattoo Haida Killer Whales Tattoo
Haida Blue Fish Haida dolphin pair Tattoo Haida Fish Tattoo art

One of the most important meanings no matter what the animal or pattern is has to do with the reflection of one’s status as a warrior. For non-native people, these tattoo meanings are often associated with a sense of strength, power, and a fighting spirit. Accordingly, Haida tattoos are often seen on men who are built, muscular and want to reflect the sense that they are strong and powerful.

Women have different Haida tattoo meanings than men both traditionally and in the modern, non-native world. Women who get these tattoos often stick with an animal or pattern that is reminiscent of a Haida full tattoo—but without the embedded cultural meanings.

Various Tattoo Ideas

Haida bird art Tattoo Tattoo arts round Haida Tattoo Haida Tattoo characters round bird Haida Tattoo walking bird Haida Tattoo

Some people choose to get this design of body art because they are fond of a particular animal and find that a Haida inspired tattoo is a creative format for expressing that. For instance, the frog does not have extreme symbolic value but it is a popular choice even without tribal meaning.

Haida frogTattoo Haida tattoo art Haida cat tattoo Haida tattoo art kneeling

Many get their inspiration for a Haida tattoo from the iconic totem poles that are specific to the native people. In these, the same meanings for these tattoos are presented in the animals and crests chosen for the totem pole. Each totem represents a different trait and meaning on the pole, just as every Haida tattoo has its own specific meaning for the person with the tattoo. As with any tribal tattoo choice, make sure that before you get this design simply because you like the way they look, you also should investigate the meaning of these tattoos to be sure that when asked about what your tattoo means you have a better answer than, “it just looked good in the book.”

Haida Tattoo Images

Bear Tattoo Haida eagle Tattoo bird Tattoo
kiwi Tattoo Haida Tattoo design Haida dog Tattoo

Many get their inspiration for a Haida tattoo from the iconic totem poles that are specific to the Haida people. In these, the same meanings for Haida tattoos are present in the animals and crests chosen for the totem pole. Each totem represents a different trait and meaning on the pole, just as every Haida tattoo has its own specific meaning for the person with the tattoo. As with any tribal tattoo choice, make sure that before you get a Haida tattoo simply because you like the way they look, you also investigate the meaning of Haida tattoos to be sure that when asked about what your tattoo means you have a better answer than, “it just looked good in the book.”

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