Inuit TikToker goes with mom to get traditional tattoos: ‘Normalize Indigenous facial tattoos’

TikToker Shina Novalinga (@shinanova) recently got a traditional tattoo with her mother in honor of their Inuit heritage. 

The Inuk singer, activist and influencer, who’s amassed a large social media following for her content featuring different aspects of Inuit culture, shared this milestone moment with her TikTok followers.


Journey of getting my first tattoo 😊#tunniit #culture #traditional #inuit #tattoo @heyzorgzilla @kayuulanova

♬ Celebrate the Good Times – Mason

Novalinga posted the video of her and her mother getting Inuit facial tattoos, and it’s an inspiring example of how Indigenous women are reviving traditions. 

The clip, which has more than 12 million views, features a montage of front-facing shots of Novalinga lip-syncing to Mason’s Celebrate the Good Times mashup as it plays over the video. Each shot includes a caption describing her tattoo journey. 

In the first scene, Novalinga, pre-tattoo, sits lip-syncing in the front seat of a car, while the words “Will travel 4 hours to get my face tattooed” appear on-screen.

“Everyone telling me I will regret it even if it’s cultural,” Novalinga captions the next shot.

As Novalinga turns her head to the side, the video quickly cuts to a shot of her smiling and dancing while the words “Me keeping it anyway” appear on-screen. 

“My heart telling me my ancestors will be proud,” Novalinga notes, becoming more excited with each passing clip. 

“Waiting over a year, excited as it will change my life forever,” Novalinga types over the next shot before it cuts to footage of her understandably “getting nervous the night before.” 

Finally, the big day arrives, but Novalinga won’t be the only person in her family receiving a traditional tattoo. “On our way! Mom getting a matching tattoo with me,” she captions the footage of her and her mother en route to get inked. 

At the tattoo parlor, the tattoo artist draws a line down Novalinga’s chin and a sideways V-shape on each of her cheekbones using a marker. And, to Novalinga’s surprise, the artist uses “no stencils!”

The following clips show Novalinga getting tattooed with “the hand poking method to be more traditional.” 

Finally, the video closes with a shot of Novalinga putting on a pair of traditional white feather earrings and beaming with pride because of her new tattoo

“It’s beautiful.”

Many supportive viewers took to the comments to share the love and congratulate Novalinga on her new tattoo.

“I’m a Māori woman from New Zealand, and this made me emotional to watch. It’s beautiful,” shared one user. 

“Normalize Indigenous facial tattoos. It’s nothing to regret and part of our cultures. You look beautiful,” complimented another viewer.

If the comments are any indication, it’s incredibly inspiring to see how new generations of Inuit women are embracing their culture and normalizing traditional facial markings.

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