The mohawk is probably the very first radical hairstyle in human history. In Neolithic times our ancestors’ stylistic hair choices consisted of long dreadlocks and not much else. Then one day some enterprising caveman fashioned a cutting stone sharp enough to shave a head, and our forebears’ coif options expanded to include bald and not-totally-bald. The easiest not-totally-bald style was the mohawk, as it’s symmetrical and easy to do oneself, with or without a mirror.
Since then it has been in constant use throughout the ages, from ancient Irish Celts to Ukrainian Cossacks. Our modern version takes its name from the eponymous Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois Nation (although it’s arguable that the association really stems from an old Technicolor western from the 1930s starring Henry Fonda). Ironically, it’s actually a different tribe, the Pawnee, whose traditional hair most closely resembles what we today call a mohawk.