Ask the Marshall

Do Indians not have facial hair?

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I have been watching Westerns ever since I was a child and have never seen an Indian with a beard or mustache. Do they not have facial hair?

Curtis Mitchell

Pleasant Garden, North Carolina

The Indians’ lack of body hair is attributed to their Asian ancestry. What little they had, they usually plucked.

Some tribes wore wispy mustaches: Navajos, Utes, Cherokees and some Northwest Coast tribes and Inuits.

For other tribes, body hair held cultural meaning. I met a Hopi woman in the 1960s who said her people didn’t care for the bearded hippie-type doctors who worked on the reservation. The Hopi thought any man who grew a beard was trying to hide something.

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