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(Re)Inscription: Reclaiming O'odham Identities through Tattoos


Persistently challenging discourses that frame Indigeneity as incompatible with urban spaces and confined to rural ones, urban-based Indigenous peoples creatively construct and assert their identities. Incorporating the lived realities of my relatives by employing kinship based oral histories, this thesis examines their complex processes of identity production as O’odham living in Los Angeles and away from O’odham Jewed (O’odham Land). To demonstrate how both, urban spaces and our ancestral territories inform my relatives’ identities, I focus specifically on their tattoos as a culturally innovative form of identity expression. Imprinting spaces of home and cultural knowledge(s), my relatives’ tattoos emphasize their resiliency and affirm their identities.

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