The tradition of Native American men cutting their hair has a complex history intertwined with the rise of world wars and the process of colonization in North America. Prior to European contact, many Native American tribes had distinct hairstyles that held cultural and spiritual significance. Hair length, style, and adornments were often linked to tribal identity, spiritual practices, and social roles. As European settlers encroached upon indigenous lands, they imposed their own customs and norms, including a preference for shorter hair. Many of these changes were forced upon them as a result of the cultural clashes, land encroachments, and pressures to assimilate into European ways of life. Native American men, in particular, began to cut their hair as part of this process of assimilation and adaptation.
The 20th century, marked by the two World Wars, also played a role in the changing practices of Native American men regarding hair. During World War I and World War II, many Native Americans served in the military, where shorter hair was a requirement. Consequently, the military experience prompted some Native American men to adopt shorter haircuts, marking a departure from their traditional, longer styles.
In more recent times, a resurgence of Native American cultural pride, a reclamation of heritage, and a renewed emphasis on tribal identity have led to a revival of traditional practices, including the growing of long hair among Native American men. This resurgence is a testament to the resilience of Native American cultures, which have sought to maintain and restore their heritage in the face of colonization, war, and cultural assimilation.