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Among the Potawatomi nation, one of the most important clans was the fish clan.  Fish clan members were thought most likely to be teachers, medicine people, and diplomats.  They carefully observed the natural world, interpreted their experiences and passed this information on. The fish clan constituted the intellectuals of Potawatomi society.  Two of the most important fish clan families were the Wawaazisiigs and the Maanamegwugs, named after the Bullhead catfish and the channel catfish respectively.  Their ideas provided the philosophical underpinnings of the tribes understanding of life.  The catfish was a respected spirit guide.

That introduction, however, is a bit of a red herring for today’s post, which features tattoos of catfish.  I wonder if the individuals who decided to get permanent images of catfishes etched in their skin with needles were thinking along the same lines as the Potawatomi elders.  Did they hope for the deep thinking of the Wawaazisiigs and the Maanamegwugs?  Were they just enchanted by the charisma and personality of the Siluriformes?  Or were they just intoxicated or hopelessly young?  Unfortunately we have no context other than the images.

Whatever the case, here is a gallery of catfish tattoos which I found around the web. Enjoy!

Ye Olde Ferrebeekeeper Archives

February 2011