Nothing can stop it, even a rain delay of a week didn’t stop the tribes from coming out to honor their traditions.
By Edwin Buggage
New Orleans: The Most African City in America
New Orleans is rich with traditions. and today is celebrating its 300-Year Anniversary. Every year, people from around the world come to experience the enviable and unmatched splendor of this City, a cultural jewel that shines around the globe. This gem has given the world jazz, great cuisine, brass bands, the second-line, the Black Masking Tradition (Mardi Gras Indians) and bears so many other unique traditions that make it, unlike any other place. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
By Glenn Jones February 22nd, 2018, history was made. For the first time in New Orleans’ higher learning history, a Black Masking Cultural art exhibition was held. Delgado Community College will not only be written in the history books as the first forward-thinking institution in New Orleans to hold a Black Masking art exhibition and lecture series but also as the first college to facilitate the bond between NOLA scholars, Black Masking Culture, and 3D Technology. Weeks prior to the opening of the exhibition, Delgado opened the Chevron FabLab to 25 middle school scholars from St. Mary’s who learned the basics of 3D design from FabLabPro Sam Provenza and went on a Black Masking cultural exploration with lead curator Glenn Jones from B-Nola. The students delved into the significance of their local native traditions and discussed ways in which to leverage 3D technology and create products that youth in New Orleans identify with. The end result of that creative powwow was a 3D collector’s edition figurine of Big Chief Shaka Zulu of the Golden Feather Tribe. New Orleans natives of all ages gathered in awe. Stay tuned for the bNola.love Black Masking podcast hosted by St. Mary’s School scholars with the gift of journalism.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines an American as A native of America; originally applied to the aboriginals, or copper-colored races, found here by the Europeans; but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America.
Louisiana is home to some of the oldest Black Aboriginal Tribes in North America such as the Chitimacha, Choctaw, Houma, Washita, Atakapa, Natchez, Tunica, Chawasha, Adai, Doustione, Natchitoches, Yatasi, Acolapissa, Mugulasha, Okelousa, Wuinapisa, Tangipahoa, and others known for some of the earliest civilizations and earthworks such as Poverty Point built between 1650 and 700 B.C. which is recognized as a world historic site.
In Southeast Louisiana, the aboriginals led the French colonists towards high ground through what we know today as Bayou Rd across the Esplanade Ridge. Jean Baptiste Bienville began construction on what the world knows as the French Quarter March of 1718 three hundred years to present day New Orleans. Continue reading →
2012 – Present – Big Chief Devin “OX” Williams
Due to our press time, it was necessary to conduct this interview before Mardi Gras. We met with Chief Williams on a rainy day, perfect for sewing, especially close to Mardi Gras morning. It is from this location where he will stand in front of his tribe and nation to sing their prayer, “Indian Red”, for protection and safe travels. After the ceremony, Chief Williams will lead his tribe to meet other tribes, friend or foe. Continue reading →
1860-1919- Big Chief Becate Batiste Krewe of Wild West
1935-1947- Big Chief Alfred Montana 8th Ward Hunters & Monogram Hunters
1945-2005- Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana Yellow Pocahontas Hunters
2006-2017- Big Chief Darryl “Mamut” Montana Yellow Pocahontas Hunters
2018 – Present- Big Chief Shaka Zulu Yellow Pocahontas Hunters
2009 – Present – Big Chief Jermaine “Jigga” Bossier
Big Chief Jermaine “Jigga” Bossier was bitten by the masking bug at the age of 6. As he says, “it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen”. It wasn’t until the age of fourteen that he was able join in the culture. Chiefs’ father and grandfather were musicians. His grandfather Raymond Lewis’ song, “Imma Put Some Hurt on You”, was covered by the Neville Brothers and he appeared on American Bandstand. His father was in a band in late 70’s early 80’s called Soul Dimension. Chief himself played baritone in the band and sang in the choir. His mother was the one that exposed him to the culture. His sister second lined for Tambourine and Fan with Big Duck Jerome Smith. Chief says, “when I was kid everybody wanted to be an Indian”. Spy Boy Fred Johnson of the Yellow Pocahontas is credited by Chief as a major influence in his early years of training along with the Great Tootie Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas. Continue reading →