Photo courtesy Savoy Fog In The Morning.
"Praying Hands," left, and "Seahawks" by Smooth Scalper Barbers. Smooth Scalper Barbers is a trio of Native American barbers who travel Indian country cutting hair, creating detailed portraits on clients' heads.

Smooth Scalper Barbers All the Buzz in Indian Country

Chelsey Luger

For around $20, you can get a lifelike portrait of Sitting Bull shaved into the back of your head. Just ask the guys at Smooth Scalper Barbers.

Savoy Fog In The Morning learned to cut hair when he was 12-years-old. He started by purchasing clippers to cut his own hair because on his rez, there was nobody to do it for him.

"Dreamcatcher" by Smooth Scalper Barbers. Photo courtesy Savoy Fog In The Morning.

“That was in 1999. I don’t draw. I don’t paint. But one day I just started cutting hair and I guess my skills evolved from there,” Savoy said.

What started as cutting hair for himself eventually turned into haircuts for neighbors and friends who would ask, and has since evolved into a full-fledged business.

Now, Smooth Scalper Barbers includes three employees: Savoy, Marlon Joe, and Christian Ironshield. They travel all around to cut hair – at powwows and basketball tournaments across the northern plains, and of course in their hometown. They’re based in Crow Agency, Montana, and soon will open a shop of their own.

"Sitting Bull" by Smooth Scalper Barbers. Photo courtesy Savoy Fog In The Morning.

“Last year we set up in Rapid City at Black Hills Powwow. On the first day nobody knew what we were doing. We got a couple heads, and by the second day we had a huge line. Then at Crow Fair we had 40 people in our line,” Savoy said.

Word travels fast because, as you can see in the photos, the designs speak for themselves. These guys are seriously talented. But it’s more than just looking cool. The guys understand how much a nice haircut can mean to somebody, and they recognized that there were no local barbers doing the job.

“We think of this as a positive movement,” Savoy said. “We see a lot of creative, artistic talent in Native people and we want to show these kids that you can do something with your gift.”

They do all kinds of designs: everything from sports logos to cultural artwork. They take requests, they draw inspiration from what’s around them, and they stay up to date with trends across the country by following other barbers on social media.

Marlon Joe, left, and Savoy Fog In The Morning hold their Smooth Scalper Barbers sign in Crow Agency, Montana.

On top of that, they do an impressive amount of charity work. At the beginning of the school year, they set up at the multipurpose building in Crow Agency and gave over 100 free haircuts for students. They plan on doing it again next year.

Then in October, they were asked to give haircuts at an event for homeless veterans. Most of the veterans there were non-Native.

“We don’t discriminate,” Savoy said, “we’re all about giving back, whether it’s on or off the reservation.”

Last weekend, Smooth Scalpers took their talents to the All American Indian Shootout basketball tournament in Billings, Montana. Then, look for them at Lakota Nation Invitational [LNI] in Rapid City, South Dakota, starting Wednesday. Keep an eye out for them year-round on the powwow and tourney circuits, and at their home shop in Crow Agency. 

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