An interesting read from Up Here about traditional Inuit and northern tattoos.  An excerpt:

The process itself, says Raboff, “was deliberate. I wouldn’t describe it as spiritual. I was just reenacting something that was done over a century before.” But living with her tattoos over time, she says, “that’s the spiritual practice. Every day I wash my face, I look at my chin, and I think of right attitudes; I think of the Creator and it reminds me of my attitude towards life.”

After five years with her tattoos, Peter has a similar thought: “I’ve done many things without realizing how important they would be later on.” It wasn’t the momentary pain or the ritual that connected her with her tattoos and her tattoos with her belief system—it was the daily routine of living with them. “When I got the tattoos, I was told, ‘Now the spirits can see you. As I explain to people what my tattoos mean, almost every day, tracing over their lines reminds me of whom I respect and why.”