Believing a centuries-old Indigenous tradition had been all but erased, Interior Salish tattoo artist Dion Kaszas decided to use his body to resurrect the ways of his ancestors, with a needle and ink.
Dot by dot, Kaszas hand-poked pictographs into his thigh and stitched designs into his skin with an ink-soaked thread. He said he had to practise the Indigenous techniques on himself because there was no one left to teach them. But he says that’s now changing.
“In a lot of ways, we are invisible as Indigenous people, so when we embody our tattooing, we actually become visible as Indigenous,” said Kaszas. “You know that those (tattoos) come from something deeper.”