Mardi Gras Indians

Photo: Infrogmation [Wikipedia]

Every year, "Indians" suit up to revel in the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here's a fascinating story at Life in the Fast Lane:

Each Indian typically makes their own costume with the aid from family and friends to sew elaborate bead and feather work. A chief’s costume can weigh up to 150 pounds (68 kilos) and cost up to $5,000 US to create. Tradition requires a new costume every year.

The tribes aren’t actually Native Indians, but African-Americans who perform the ritual in tribute to the Chickasaw, Choctaw and other American Indian tribes that once sheltered runaway slaves.

The tribes include “gangs,” such as the White Eagles, the Wild Magnolias and the White Cloud Hunters, ranging in size from 6 to several dozen members. The tribes are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinate the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians.

They spend a full year painstakingly hand stitching the costumes, a technique passed from one generation to the next.

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why, why, why are you trying to explain to some white bigots the sincerity of our traditions? let them crackers have their hatred. REMEMBER MARK ESSEX!!!!!!!!
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Actually, they are accepted by alots of Native american counsils and are in many cases of mixed african and native american desent. In the 1700's in Louisiana the French released a bunch of slaves because they could not afford to keep many. Many ran off to Native American lands and learned and traded traditions amongs each race. Not only that, many of the suits roots are in west Africa. There is alot of suits that pays tribute to Africans and the ancestors. Some suits depict tributes to someone who might have died that year or depict voodoo history. The beading in the suits paints the story of Blacks in New Orleans. It is a tradition that has roots in Africa, Haiti, and other parts of the carribean. You can see similar desighns in the Bahamas in Jukano. Similarities in Trinidads carnival and Haiti. The Mardi Gras indian drumming is African. The words they speak has creole orgins. this is not racism. It is different then black face. It is a ritual that depicts and tells the story of Blacks in New Orleans. the story of blacks in New Orleans involves Native Americans, voodoo, qaudroon balls, crime, pirates, war, so you see many depictions on these suits. It is theatrical yet spiritual. Mighty cooti fiyo which is said at the the start of the ritual song indian red actually is broken up creole to what is said to start voodoo ceromonies in Haiti. It means we call to to attention. There is much more to Mardi Gras in the black community in New Orleans then people know. You have Skull and bone gangs. They wake up kids in the morning on mardi gras day singing songs aboud how they will die. They are said to bring back the dead on Mardi Gras to party and remind everyone to live life to its fullest and have fun on this day. They meet with Mardi Gras indians as well.
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