THE 42—TRIBE SERIES
For 42 weeks, we will highlight 42 present day Tribal Chiefs. The documentary series will describe the individual Tribal History. We will also have the rare opportunity to photograph and publish each Tribal Chief.
WHO WE ARE
THE 42—TRIBE SERIES: HISTORY OF NEW ORLEANS INDIGENOUS MASKING
Red Cheyenne Tribe
2016 – Present – Big Chief John “Twin” Ohillia
At the age of fifteen, Big Chief John “Twin” Ohillia started following the Comanche Hunters and fell in love with the Black Masking Culture. When Chief Ohillia’s cousin Big Chief Bo of the Young Cheyenne came on the scene, John started following him holding his stick, wings, and hat while his twin brother, Jonathan Ohillia, played drums. Chief John says, “I never stopped after that the needle started to roll”. At that point, Chief was ready. He sat down with Big Chief Bo to speak about him and his brother masking under Young Cheyenne. Originally, they were going to run Chief Scout, but Ferdinand Beaguard stepped in and said they were going to run Flag Boy. In 2002, Johns’ twin brother Jonathan Ohillia masked as Flag Boy. After that John was ready to start sewing for himself, but then Katrina hit. As soon as they returned to New Orleans, he started sewing again. As Chief John says when he started sewing again it was “All hell, tell the Captain, I had to do something”. John started running Flag Boy and fell deeper in love with this culture before evolving into Big Chief of the Red Cheyenne.