Cynthia Ivan (b. 1986)
Jamie Harcharek gave me my first line, and Holly Nordlum did the other two on either side of the middle line. The first tattoo I received on my chin is a representation of accomplishment --of engaging a successful college education and helping compose my first Native song, Yaraq. The anniversary of my first traditional tattoo coincides with a very significant tragedy within my family and community. My other two lines represent becoming a leader in my community. I am a city council member and the founder of the Brown Bear Dancers in Akiak. There has not been a dance group since contact in the 1800s when the missionaries first arrived. My chest tattoo is not a traditional Yupiaq tattoo. It is the tradition of our sisters of Greenland of the North. I was told that it is a representation of one who can take on great burdens. I just recently lost my mother and am the eldest, whose job it is to take care of my family.