Paninnguaq Lind Jensen
Author: Paninnguaq Lind Jensen

Paninnguaq Lind Jensen

Tattoo Artist

marking heritage and birthright

meet paninnguaq

Paninnguaq Lind Jensen has researched and worked with tunniit, traditional Inuit markings, since 2016. The numbers of marked Inuit in Greenland have grown to more than a thousand people. Paninnguaq is working on eight children’s books to make Inuit children aware of traditional knowledge and traditions within their cultural heritage. She is also co-working on a decolonization anthology. She has made a documentary about how local people, hunters, fishermen, reindeer herders and sheep farmers living nearby  were affected by the mine that contained radioactive soils.

marking heritage and birthright
Nominated by: Martin Nweeia FN'99
Class of 2022 Location Greenland

I have been sharing knowledge with every person I have marked. It is important for me that they know exactly what they received. Inuit are amazing storytellers so they should have the honor of passing on the knowledge to their closest friends and family. It is my way to plant as many good seeds as possible to start the conversations about tunniit, because marking their body is not enough. We have to go deeper than that. It is about reviving tunniit in our daily consciousness and in our contact with others. Reviving a whole cultural tradition doesn’t happen in one person. It happens collectively.

“I hope that the following generations understand the importance of doing a job like this, because it is something that our Mayan ancestors have been doing for centuries.”

- Paninnguaq Lind Jensen

That is also why I am passionate about writing children’s books. I grew up thinking that Inuit were only people that lived in Greenland a long, long time ago, so, I know how important it is that we write books about ourselves. Children need books that normalize cultural traditions and values that are not supported or protected in a colonized and capitalistic world where there is not much space for indigenous peoples. Many Inuit children are growing up experiencing their mothers, aunts and grandmothers, and some men, taking back their markings. This is why it is important to bring them into the process. They will carry on and pass knowledge and traditions to future generations. Our markings belong to Inuit. It is our heritage and our birthright. We decide when and with whom we are comfortable sharing.

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