The documentary Tupik Mi has been in the works for quite some time now, but the hard work on the behalf of the Inuit ladies behind this project is finally paying off. They just released the second trailer for the film, and from the looks of it, their team has made significant headway toward achieving their goal of chronicling their efforts to resuscitate a cultural tradition that was almost killed off. Over the course of the last two years, they've been traveling around to various indigenous communities in Alaska and tattooing Inuit women, and in doing so, they've brought the art form back from the brink of extinction.
During the last century and a half, the practice of Tupik Mi — the Inupiaq term for tattooing — was nearly wiped out due to the effects of colonialism. With the spread of Christianity to the northern most reaches of the Americas, these bodily markings were stigmatized to the point that they became emblems of shame instead of the proud symbols that they once were. Now that most of the globe has become more tolerant of body art, this invaluable cultural practice has made a resilient resurgence, and more Inuit women are getting the facial tattoos that their foremothers wore with pride.
The women responsible for Tupik Mi — Holly Mititquq Nordlum, Maya Sialuk Jacobson, and Tanya Telemaque — are a part of a greater effort to resurrect and maintain the art form. Several organizations are doing similar culturally restorative work, but these ladies are the first ones to thoroughly document this inspiring indigenous movement to share it with the world. A wider awareness and greater appreciation for traditional Inuit tattoos are essential for the ancient practice's survival in the new millennium. The second trailer shines light on the incredibly important work they've been doing, and as it shows, the documentary will likely be groundbreaking as well as profoundly moving.
If you want to chip in on helping restore Inuit tattooing to its former glory, you can support the awesome efforts of these the Tupik Mi team by making a donation on their website.