Native American Tattoos: 50 of the Most Intricate Designs

Native American Tattoos: 50 of the Most Intricate Designs

Posted By BrittanyLCerny February 16th, 2021 Last Updated on: March 1st, 2021

Native American tattoos have been all the rage for years.

While some non-Native people get tattoos of tribal chiefs, geometric designs, nature, totems, dream catchers, and spirit animals that represent the Native American cultures, people who are actually Native often get them for more personal reasons. 

The ritual of getting a Native American tattoo

The process of getting a tattoo is a privilege and a ritual in itself for many Native people. They may want to celebrate their heritage or wear a symbol of power, protection, and strength. 

Many Native American tattoos contain rich reds, blues, and blacks in their designs. This is a testament to the resourcefulness of many tribal members since many inks originally got their color from natural elements such as clay and indigo.

Historically, Native American tribes of North America used tattooing to signify achievements, social status, or the coming of age, or they got “inked” out of reverence for spiritual or religious beliefs. Some tribal members received tattoos as a medicinal treatment or for identification. 

Though the reasons for getting a Native American tattoo have largely shifted over time, the beauty and symbolism in their designs stand the test of time. And with an estimated 21,000-plus registered tattoo parlors in the U.S., there's no shortage of uber-talented Native and non-Native artists waiting for their next human canvas.

Here are 50 of the most intricate Native American tattoo designs—one just might inspire you.

50 Native American tattoo designs

ONE

Finished up this fun piece on @nickgimesi the other day! @deadlytattoosinc

Follow artist deano_robertson from Deadly Tattoos Inc. from Calgary on Instagram!

TWO

Photo by manutea jean michel on August 28, 2020.

Follow artist jeanmichelmanutea on Instagram!

THREE

Done a number of weeks ago @builtstrong.tattoo . #michelangelotattoo #michelangelotattoomachines #thebesttattooartists #ornamentalika #tribaltattoo #marquesantattoo #marquesasislands #milano #builtstrongtattoo #halfbodysuittattoo

Follow artist michelangelotattoo from Built Strong Tattoo on Instagram!

FOUR

Thigh wrap in progress for Nate. Heard some sad news while doing this piece tonight...rest easy @djhemz, moe mai ra bro.👊🏾 #RIPDJHEMZ #moko #revolutionaotearoa #freehandtattoo #cheyennetattooequipment #dynamicink #kwadron #blackclawcartridges #solterra #maoritattoo #forearmtattoo #nativetattoo #linearttattoo #lineworktattoo #mokotheworld #thightattoo
 
Follow artist wiremubarriball from Revolution Ink Aotearoa on Instagram!

FIVE

Last one before Christmas ♡ #calftattoo #avalantattoo #agnieszkakulinska #tikitattoo #samoastyletattoo #tatuazpolinezyjski
 
Follow artist Agnieszka Kulińska of avalan.tattoo out of Krakow, Poland on Instagram!

SIX

Photo by chantyman hopkins in East Van Wear & Tattoo Co. with @tattootailor, @native_art, @urbannativeera, @nativemaxmag, @imaginenative, @aptn_ca, @kc_hall_art, @ntvsclothing, @keepitnative_, @reclaimyourpower, @_native_ink, @nativeamericanarts, @indigenouslifestyles, @nativeamericansproud, @a.b.original, @hkeezay, @indigenouspeoplesmovement, @miajzfuzzycuts, and @the_hstrymkrs. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo and rose.

Follow artist Chantyman Hopkins from Aboriginal_Ink on Instagram!

SEVEN

Photo shared by ☠︎Christian Berndt☠︎ on October 21, 2020 tagging @chriz.berndt, @inkedmag, @fab_ian_d, @liontattoos, @inkkwoorld, @best.tattoo.styles, and @inked_mode_vn. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo, big cat and outerwear.
 
Follow artist Christian Berndt of christian.berndt.tattoo on Instagram!

EIGHT

Photo by Kira Murillo Tattoos on January 21, 2021. May be an illustration of food.
 
Follow artist Kira Murillo at kiramurillo on Instagram!

NINE

In Progress!!! @buntes.alatau #armtattoo #inprogress #inprogresstattoo #blackink #blacktattoo #blacklines #blackdots #dotworktattoo #lineworktattoo #graphictattoo #animaltattoo #spiritanimals #spiritanimaltattoo #underarmtattoo #alatautattooing #leipzigtattoo #leipzigtattooartist #beartattoo #owltattoo #wolftattoo

Follow artist Amy Malt at amymalttattooing on Instagram!

TEN

#nativeamerican #portrait @hungrywolftattoo

Follow artist whiteytattoos from Long Island on Instagram!

ELEVEN

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Dion Kaszas (@dionkaszas)


Follow artist dionkaszas from Canada on Instagram!

TWELVE

Photo by 𝕂𝕌ℙ𝕀𝕋’𝕊 ✠ 𝔾𝕠𝕕𝔾𝕠𝕝𝕕𝕋𝕒𝕥𝕥𝕠𝕠𝔹𝕒𝕝𝕚 ✠ in Seminyak Beach Bali with @inkedmag, @crazyytattoos, @inkjunkeyz, @tattooloversshop, @magicinkmagz, @tattoo.artists, @featured_ink, @topdastattoos, @tatdaddyclothing, @megatattoos, @tatdaddy.ent, @fanartattoo, @tattoo_collector, @inkkwoorld, @tattooinspouk, @tattoos365, @best.tattoo.artist, @tattoosculture, @tattooinkfox, and @relentlessbetrayal. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.

Follow artist surantyyasaa_tattoo on Instagram!

THIRTEEN

FOURTEEN

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone. 🐺 Artist: @adriancier . . #Intenze #Intenzeink #Intenzetattoo #Intenzetattooink #IntenzePride #veganink #ink2021 #tattoo2021 #tatts #tattoo #blackinkcrew #blacktattoo #darktattoo #animaltattoos #animaltattoo #wolftattoo

Follow artist intenzetattooink on Instagram!

FIFTEEN

Fun freehand native spearhead!! 🤘🏻🙏🏻

Follow artist joelharttattoos on Instagram!

SIXTEEN

Find Your Light in the Darkness ~ Other arm done for Don...thanks for looking

Follow artist ROXX of roxx_____ out of Los Angeles on Instagram!

SEVENTEEN

13 hrs thanks to the brotha @tylerquesnel27 for giving the business 👊🏼🙏🏼 @eastvanweartattooco 604-299-3939 . . . . . . - [ ] #eastvaninc #eastvancross #vancity #vancouverbc #tattooartist #tattoo #tattoos #ink #tattooart #inked #tattooed #tattoolife #tattooist #tattooing #tattooer #inkedup #bodyart #tattooink #tattoostudio #customtattoos #Inkit #holycross #vantat #vancouvertattoo #vancouvertattooartist #fullsleeve #fullsleevetattoo #nativeartists #handtattoo #nativeamericantattoo

Once again, follow artist Chantyman Hopkins from Aboriginal_Ink on Instagram!

EIGHTEEN

Photo shared by 홍대/제주 타투 T.arttoo on February 13, 2021 tagging @inkedmag, @radtattoos, @skinart_mag, @tattooselection, @d_world_of_ink, @tttism, @the.best.tattoo.page, @bodyartmag, @tttin.k, @sharedtattoo, @tttism.asia, and @asiagalleryart. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.
 
Follow artist t.arttoo on Instagram!

NINETEEN

Photo by @jackink in God Gold Tattoo Bali with @inkedmag, @sullentv, @tatdaddyclothing, @tatdaddy.ent, @tattooinspouk, @best.tattoo.styles, @best.tattoo.artist, @best.tattoo.arts, @bestrealism.tattoo, @chingo.ink_tatdaddy, and @the_best_tattoo_inspirations. May be art of 1 person and tattoo.

Follow artist tattoowith_jack on Instagram!

TWENTY

Photo shared by Gerald Ramos Art on February 06, 2021 tagging @inkjecta, @fkirons, @electrumsupply, @pr_tattooartists, @mundoskink, @coverupmagazine, @revistametalhead, @recoveryaftercare, @peakneedles, @dynamiccolor, @inkjectapro, and @tinta_puertorico. May be a closeup of one or more people and tattoo.
Follow artist geraldramosart out of Puerto Rico on Instagram!

TWENTY-ONE

Tattoo artist @frag.ink #tattoo #tattooartist #tattooart #tattooed #tattoos #blacktattoo #blacktattooart #blackwork #blackworktattoo #blackworkers #onlyblackwork #onlyblackart #polandtattoos #polandtattooartist #workinprogress #polandtattoos #tat #tatuaże #tatuazepolska #studio #olsztyn #studiotattoo #wolf

Follow artist silentinkolsztyn on Instagram!

TWENTY-TWO

Photo by Masquerade Tattoo Studio in Masquerade Tattoo Studio. May be art of 1 person and tattoo.

Follow artist masqueradetattoostudio on Instagram!

TWENTY-THREE

Photo shared by Relentless Betrayal on February 05, 2021 tagging @dodepras_lumina. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.

Follow artist relentlessbetrayal on Instagram!

TWENTY-FOUR

Photo by Alessandro Booka in Cry baby tattoo shop with @americanatattoos, @bright_and_bold, @oldlines, @italian_traditional_tattoo, @besttradtattoos, @blacktraditionals, @tattoopunks, @blacktoptattooing, @traditionaltattooit, @traditionalartist, @diego.carzedda, @traditionalstattoos, @skintherapy_tattoosupply, @blackworkitaly, @blackworkers_italy, @crybaby_tattooshop, @unconventional_trad, @tttism.italy, @blackworktraditional, and @blackworkttt_it. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.

Follow artist alessandro_booka_tattooer on Instagram!

TWENTY-FIVE

Photo by Stacey Walker in Dedicated Tattoo. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.

Follow artist staceywalker_tattoos out of Temecula, CA on Instagram!

TWENTY-SIX

Photo by Sean Green on January 17, 2021. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo and outerwear.

Follow artist Sean Green at artbyseangreen on Instagram!

TWENTY-SEVEN

Photo by Neil Bass BLACKWORKERIST in Tattoo FX. May be a black-and-white image of one or more people and tattoo.

Follow artist Neil Bass of _tattoofx on Instagram!

TWENTY-EIGHT

Thanks alot to Ben from Belgium 🇧🇪 _____________________________________ For appointments & informtion: bookings@pacifictattoos.nl or DM
 
Follow artist Thierry Rossen at thierryrossen on Instagram!

TWENTY-NINE

🌴 thank you Mr. Alberto! 🤟Samoan inspired 🇼🇸 . #freehand #marcowallace #samoaninspired #wallacetattoostudio #samoan #pacific #samoantattoo #tattolifemagazine #polynesian #polynesiantattoo #tribaltattoo #tattooculturemagazine #thebesttattooartists #tribaltattooers #tribaltataucollective #tattoo #tattoos #legtattoo #photooftheday #instatattoo #amazingink

Follow artist Marco Wallace at marcowallacetattoo on Instagram!

THIRTY

Did this foot 2 weeks ago. Thanks Niek! 🙏🏼 For appointments and info: bookings@pacifictattoos.nl _________________________________________ #tattoo #tattooist #tattooing #tattooed #tattoos #tattoolove #tattoocommunity #tattooideas #polynesiantattoo #maoritattoo #pacifictattoo #tatau #art #geometric #drawing #thierryrossen #polynesia #marquesan #picoftheday #nederland #tattooart #btattooing #blackworkers #darkartists #tattoolife #tattoomagazine #onlyblackart
 
Once again, follow artist thierryrossen on Instagram!

THIRTY-ONE

THIRTY-TWO

А вы знали, что Ловец снов - это не просто украшение для интерьера, а индийский магический амулет? Племена использовали этот мощный талисман, как настоящий оберег, который защищает спящего от негатива и болезней. По древним преданиям плохие сны и злые духи запутываются в паутине, а хорошие проскальзывают сквозь отверстие в середине🧐. Многие хотят запечатлить ловец снов навсегда, на фото один из примеров! Чтобы придать татуировке индивидуальности, мы добавили в эскиз лотос! #ловецснов #лотостату #lotustattoo #girlstattoo #идеятату #tattoosketch #татумастермосква #татумастервмоскве #dreamcatcher #dreamcatchertattoo #цветныетату #татуэскизы

Follow artist ssnake.tattoo on Instagram!

THIRTY-THREE

Photo by Mélanie Mathevet Sayol on February 13, 2021. May be a closeup of one or more people and tattoo.
 
Follow artist Mélanie Mathevet Sayol at aficionado_tattoo on Instagram!

THIRTY-FOUR

Photo by Ower Hernandez in Exposed Temptations Tattoo with @xposedtattoo. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo, food and brick wall.

Follow artist ower_hernandez on Instagram!

THIRTY-FIVE

Photo by Wojciech Ważyński on February 03, 2021. May be an image of 1 person and tattoo.
 
Follow artist ww.wojciech on Instagram!

THIRTY-SIX

 
Once again, follow artist Kira Murillo at kiramurillo on Instagram!

THIRTY-SEVEN

Photo by Ethan Chandler on January 30, 2021. May be an illustration of one or more people and tattoo.
 
Follow artist Ethan Chandler at ethan_smt on Instagram!

THIRTY-EIGHT

Photo by Cristian on January 29, 2021. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.
 
Follow artist Christian at tattoosbycristian on Instagram!

THIRTY-NINE

Photo by Alankara Tattoo on January 28, 2021. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo and text that says 'ALANKARA TATTOO'.
 
Follow artist alankara_tattoo on Instagram!

FORTY

Heute aus dem Sportarchiv von @felixkienzle 👩🏻🐻⛺️ Stay safe. 🌞 #teamfullgas #tattoo #traditionaltattoo #tradworkers #nativeamerican #nativeamericantattoo #bear #beartattoo #traditional #konstanz #tattookonstanz #konstanztattoo #bodensee #felixkienzle #oldlines #germantattooers #konstanztattoostudio

Follow artist team_fullgas on Instagram!

FORTY-ONE

Photo shared by Chris Powell ➖ Dayton ➖ Tattoo on January 26, 2021 tagging @hell_city, @evergreentattooinvitational, @cincinnatitattooers, @ohiotattooers, @dacarter6, @blackandgreylifestyle, and @columbus_tattooers. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo and food.
 
Follow artist Chris Powell at chrispowelltattoos on Instagram!

FORTY-TWO

Photo by Luke Vella Skinlabel in Skinlabel Tattoo Studio with @jeanpaul_011. May be an image of food.

Follow artist Luke Vella at luke_vella_skinlabel on Instagram!

FORTY-THREE

Strong mind ! #Tattoo #刺青#タトゥー #tattoo #tk.tattoo# tattoos#ink #inked #tattooed#tattooart#tattoolife#tatted#instatatoo#tatooing#artist #thailand #phuket #tatoodesign#blackandgray#tattooflash#tatoomodel#tatooink#tattooideas#tattostyle #tattedup#tattoolove#lifestyle#tattoofashion#legtattoo#indiantattoo#nativeamericantattoo

Follow artist tktat.too13 on Instagram!

FORTY-FOUR

⚡️Cherokee and Hawk...🦅 . . . . .#cherokee #cherokeetattoo #hawktattoo #radtatz #oldtowntattoo #oldtowntemecula #temeculawinecountry
 
Follow artist carl_womack_tattoos on Instagram!

FORTY-FIVE

Finished up this Native American piece on my awesome brother in law today! #tattoo #tattoos #tattooartist #realism #stltattoo #stltattooartist #stlouistattoo #guyswithtattoos #blackangrey #bkackandgreytattoo #nativeamerican #nativeamericantattoo #eagle #eagletattoo #blackthronecollective #atlascartridges #recoveryaftercare

Follow artist Mark Skipper at markrskipper on Instagram!

FORTY-SIX

Photo shared by Quantum Tattoo Ink Russia on January 23, 2021 tagging @quantumtattooinks, and @lisaammertattoo. May be an image of 1 person, tattoo and food.
 
Follow artist quantumtattooink.russia on Instagram!

FORTY-SEVEN

Photo by Andrew Burley on January 22, 2021. May be an image of one or more people, tattoo and food.
 
Follow artist Andrew Burley at xandytattoosx on Instagram!

FORTY-EIGHT

Photo by tristen Jenni on February 13, 2021. May be an image of one or more people and tattoo.

Follow artist Tristen Jenni at tristen.jenni.tattoo on Instagram!

FORTY-NINE

I just finished Cobra Kai 🐍 (watched the last 8 episodes in one sitting) - I really liked it (although I wanted Hawk to get more of a comeuppance, he was a right idiot!), but apparently it wasn't that well recieved 😕 did you watch it? What did you think? Also - here's a collection of photo's from throughout the process of @jakey_rf sleeve. Realism is my favourite style to tattoo in, all tattooing is a privilege to be allowed to do, but I feel most comfortble doing the realistic stuff with the tiny details. . . . . #tattoo #realistictattoo #realism #blackandgreytattoo #blackandshade #blackandshadetattoo #bedford #bedfordtattooist #bedfordtattoo #uktattooist #nativeamerican #nativeamericantattoo #owl #wolf #bear #eagle #animaltattoo
 
Follow artist buddybarratttattoos on Instagram!

FIFTY

Photo by Sean Green in TX Sinners & Saints Tattoo Co.. May be an image of one or more people.

Follow artist Sean Green at artbyseangreen on Instagram!

Don't forget to support your local Native American tattoo artistscheck them out on Instagram and show them some love. 

Featured image credit: Northern Virginia Mag

 

 


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About BrittanyLCerny

About PowWows.com - Founded in 1996, PowWows.com is your online gathering for all things Native American culture. Explore American Indian Culture through articles, interviews, videos, photos, and live streaming.



4 thoughts on “Native American Tattoos: 50 of the Most Intricate Designs

  1. Maury McDonald says:

    The Indian Arts and Crafts Act (Act) of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in the marketing of Indian art and craft products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization,

  2. Tattoos are great. Good job artist. But since when did ancient native american tattoos have lions? Lions are native to Africa so are some of these designs.

  3. Gayle Messina says:

    The detail is fabulous ! The power in each tattoo is breathtaking ! Extremely beautiful work, you are all masters in your own way !

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