Weird History

The Fascinating Story Behind The Girl With The Mohave Tattoo

In 1856, a 19-year-old girl named Olive Oatman caused a big stir in Arizona. The daughter of white settlers who were murdered on their way to California, she emerged from years of being a captive of the Mohave tribe with a striking and distinctive blue tattoo on her chin. So who was Olive Oatman, and how did she come to live with the Mohave? Her story is one of extreme tragedy that also captures the incredible strength of the human spirit.

The American public was fascinated by Olivia Oatman, and the stories of her time as a captive continue to spark interest to this day. Her journey from desert pioneer to orphaned Native American captive left lasting marks on her that went much deeper than a tattoo; it was said that she carried around a Mohave staple, a jar of hazelnuts, for the rest of her life to remind her of her experiences.