Indianz.Com > News > James Giago Davies: The future is looking a little bald
Photo: mrbanjo1138
Looks like the future will not be hairy
Monday, July 12, 2021

When I was a boy in Rapid City, the only bald-headed men I saw were white men. Eventually my mom took us down to the rez to visit relatives. There were some old men sitting in the shade at Sharp’s Corner. All had hair so thin you could see their scalp, and one of them was actually bald.

That made me think about old photographs of famous chiefs, and a lot of them have something covering their head, like a war bonnet. There’s a good chance some of those men were bald.

Lots of Lakota guys I grew up with are getting thin up top, me included, although we will probably never go completely bald. Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) is far more common among white males. My friend Barry barely made it out of high school, before his hair started falling out. I used to tease him he was easy to spot in grade school because he was the only kid on the playground with a receding hairline.

Frank Fools Crow
A bust of Frank Fools Crow, a Lakota leader who lived from about 1890 to 1989. Photo: Neeta Lind

This other kid I knew, Mike, boy did he have a thick head of hair he was seriously vain about. He grew it long down to his shoulders and he had this cool hallway walk at North Junior High where he would toss his wild mane, and to the extent any chicks dug him, they dug him because of that cool hair.

When Frank Fools Crow testified before Congress in 1976, he wore something on his head resembling hair. I won’t call it a toupee or even a wig. It was like some black yarn was knitted into braids and slapped on his head.

It looked awful, but not as bad as showing up in Washington with a bald head when you are supposed to be all tribal and traditional. So, my heart was with Frank. He was a warrior, and he made do best as he could in a bad situation.

But that poor guy Mike I mentioned earlier, being white, his cool hair was pure vanity. Couple years after high school, I saw him coming out of a restaurant. Still had his cool walk, hair was still down to his shoulders, but the top of his head was completely bald.

Ben Franklin would have taken second place in a Ben Franklin lookalike contest if Mike had entered.


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