The Mohawk hairstyle is distinguished by a ridge of hair sticking straight up, running down the center of the head from the forehead to the nape of the neck, with the rest of the head shaved. It originated among Native American tribes in North America and Canada and was often not made of human hair but rather of a "deer roach," a piece of deer tail with skin and fur attached and worn atop the head.

French explorer Samuel de Champlain (c. 1567–1635) first noted the hairstyle among the Hurons of southwestern Ontario in the early 1600s. The name Huron, in fact, comes from the old French word hure, meaning "boar's head," after the stiff ridge of hair bristles along the head of a boar. Other Native American tribes wore their hair in this fashion as well. There is even a tribe called the Mohawk tribe, though there is no evidence to suggest that the Mohawk tribe originated the style. The first time the Mohawk hairstyle was identified with the Mohawk tribe was in a book written in 1656 by a Dutch Reform minister named Johannes Megatolensis. The illustration of a Mohawk hairstyle included in his book was of a Long Island Algonquin, not a Mohawk.

In the 1970s the Mohawk became a popular hairstyle among punk rockers, fans of punk rock music, who liked its menacing look. The actor Mr. T sported a variation of the Mohawk on his 1980s action TV series The A-Team.


Gröning, Karl. Body Decoration: A World Survey of Body Art. New York: Vendome Press, 1998.

Raphael, Mitchell. "Who Really Sported the First Mohawk?" Canku Ota. (accessed on July 31, 2003).

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