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Traditional Tattoos & Body Sovereignty

This project will explore the process and experiences of Native American/Alaskan Native/First Nations people who are engaging in revitalizing their tribe’s traditional tattoo practices through both administering traditional tattoos and bearing traditional tattoos in a settler colonial society and its intersection with body sovereignty. The purpose of this project is to help inform Native American/Alaskan Native/First Nations people who are considering revitalizing their tribes’ tattoos, and gain insight into how revitalization of traditional tattoos has affected the lives of the people who are involved in bringing tattoo traditions forward. This project builds on apprenticeships with indigenous tattoo artists, interviews with Indigenous people who have received traditional tattoos, and the development of a cohort of Indigenous women, who will be followed throughout their personal journeys to revitalize and receive tattoos traditional to their culture. In this sense, this project examines the intersections of revitalization of traditional

tattoos, body sovereignty, violence prevention, and Indigenous women's empowerment.

Traditional Tattoos & Body Sovereignty is a Leading Community Researcher project. In these projects, SBI provides support to Leading Community Researchers, who are Indigenous scholars, community organizers, and data visualists engaged in critical, innovative work to help us better understand, address, and prevent gender and sexual violence against Indigenous people. The support we provide to these leading community researchers is designed to support them in the good work they continue to do as leaders; each researcher is provided a stipend, assistance from an RA, financial support for their project, and support and feedback from SBI staff, Board, and partners as needed. We are proud of the interdisciplinarity, diversity, intellect, and heart each one brings to the work they are doing with SBI and for our peoples.


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Brit Reed is of Choctaw descent. She received her Bachelor of Art in 2014 from The Evergreen State College’s Reservation-Based Community Determined Program. During this time she began her initial interest in the correlation between food and health. She went on to continue her studies regarding access to food and health while receiving her Master in Public Administration with a concentration in Tribal Governance in 2016 from The Evergreen State College. After receiving her MPA, she earned her AAS in culinary studies from Seattle Culinary Academy in 2018. Brit Reed currently works for the Tulalip Tribe’s Diabetes Program as a Culinary Service Provider. Additionally, she is a member of the I-Collective, a beadwork artist, and photographer.

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