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 →


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 →


TRIBAL TIMELINE:
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 →


TRIBAL TIMELINE:
2008 – Present – Big Chief Nelson “Mandela Jr.” Lewis

Chief Nelson started masking as a Wildman with no tribe. Chief first saw Black Masking Indians as a child on horseback from the Black Mohawks Tribe that used to come out of Shrewsbury, but now is out of Uptown. “I started carving masks and receiving spirits on how to draw”, along with the spirit of his mother’s sewing. Before the age of 12 he would watch his mom sew as he was honing his skills in mask carving. As Chief says, “she put that spirit in me, in my later years I started sewing”. It seems that the spirits have been guiding Chief Nelson since he was a child. These two accounts of spiritual connectedness are quite unique.

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By Glenn Jones

42 Tribes Recap

Beginning June, 2017,  Data News Weekly’s special feature, 42 Tribes has been shining the spotlight on the “Big Chiefs” of the 42 tribes that comprise the Black Indigenous Masking culture,  which is the heart and soul of Black New Orleans culture.  It is a supreme collective tradition and sacred heritage.  With the Tri-Centennial coming next year, Data News Weekly is highlighting all 42 of the Present Big Chiefs, and telling the stories that bring us closer to, and show proper reverence for this great and powerful history. Masking tradition is New Orleans, no Tri-Centennial celebration can be made here, without celebrating Indian culture.  Here is a quick look back at the 18 Chiefs we have profiled so far, and next week, we will bring you two new Chiefs on our way to 42 Tribes.   Visit www. http://ladatanews.com/category/42-tribes/  

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